About Job Accommodations
A job accommodation is a change that is made to a job or the workplace that helps an employee do the basic duties of the job. A reasonable accommodation does not change essential job functions. The accommodation cannot be too expensive or disruptive for the employer.
Examples of accommodations for people with mental illness may include:
- Unpaid leave of absence (i.e. for counseling, hospitalizations, managing symptoms)
- Policy changes such as letting someone on medication take more frequent breaks than are usually allowed, to drink water or use the bathroom
- Bringing a job coach to work to help learn the job.
- Changing the work schedule of a person whose medications make him groggy in the morning.
These are only a few examples of the types of accommodations that might help a person with disabilities succeed on the job.
If you think a job accommodation will help you, talk to your supervisor. It’s not your employer’s responsibility to "guess" if you need an accommodation; and he won’t be held liable if he doesn’t provide accommodations because you didn’t ask. You don’t have to ask for an accommodation in writing, but you should keep some kind of record of any conversations or meetings you have.
Once you’ve made the request, your employer must make a reasonable effort to set up an appropriate accommodation. You also have to be willing to work with your employer in setting up the accommodation or you may lose your rights under the ADA. Your employer may ask you to show medical evidence of your disability. If your employer suggests an accommodation, and you don’t think it will help, you should suggest a different accommodation. You may want to ask for an advocate to help you. The Colorado Cross Disabilities Coalition (CCDC) is a good resource. CCDC helps advocate for people with disabilities. Other resources for job accommodations include: