Working With Pain: 10 Tips

2. Understand “reasonable accommodation”

Under the ADA, an employee must be given the opportunity to perform the essential functions of a job with “reasonable accommodation,” meaning an employer may need to modify a workplace to accommodate a person’s disabilities.

Accommodations may include making adjustments to work schedules so workers can receive medical treatments, providing assistive equipment or devices, or changing the height of a desk. (Learn about Varidesk.) Reasonable accommodations, however, are not open-ended. Changes to a workplace that would cause significant difficulty or expense to an employer are not considered “reasonable.” Employers also aren’t required to give you a specific job if they believe that doing so would put you or others at risk.

For accommodations not deemed “reasonable,” the employer must give you the option of paying for them yourself or sharing the cost. However, if workplace fixes fall under the “reasonable” definition, it is illegal for the employer to force you to pay them or to decrease your pay.

Kurt Ullman is a medical writer and a registered nurse. He has worked as a nurse, mostly in psychiatry, and as a staff writer and editor in radio, television, magazines, and newspapers.

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