Two very common symptoms across many with Autoimmune Disease are fatigue and joint pain, both of which are “invisible.” Did you know there’s a law that requires an employer to provide reasonable accommodation/s to an employee or job applicant with a disability, unless doing so would cause significant difficulty or expense for the employer (“undue hardship”)? Read on to learn more about the top 25 workplace accommodations for individuals with Autoimmune Disease and conditions.
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What is a Reasonable Accommodation?
A reasonable accommodation is any change in the work environment (or in the way things are usually done) to help a person with a disability apply for a job, perform the duties of a job, or enjoy the benefits and privileges of employment.
An employer is required to provide reasonable workplace accommodations to a qualified applicant or employee with a disability unless the employer can show that the accommodation would be an undue hardship — that is, that it would require significant difficulty or expense. Undue hardship means that the accommodation would be too difficult or too expensive to provide, in light of the employer’s size, financial resources, and the needs of the business. An employer may not refuse to provide an accommodation just because it involves some cost. An employer does not have to provide the exact accommodation the employee or job applicant wants. If more than one accommodation works, the employer may choose which one to provide.
I addressed this topic in my #1 Amazon.com bestseller Thriving in the Workplace with Autoimmune Disease: Know Your Rights, Resolve Conflict, and Reduce Stress. Available on Kindle and paperback.
For those struggling with fatigue, accommodations might include extra rest periods, reduced hours or the ability to work at home. Your life is not just about your work, and you only have so much energy to expend on any given day. You still need to function during those 16 hours of the day that you are not at your job. Conserving energy is crucial.
According to the Job Accommodation Network, there is no comprehensive list of accommodations that MUST be provided under the ADA. While all AI diseases and symptoms are different, this is a substantial list of reasonable accommodations to help get you started. It is by no means a complete list, but I’ve compiled the top 25 workplace accommodations that are specific to help those with AI:
- Work from home
- Allow flexible work and leave schedule
- Allow periodic and/or longer breaks
- Reduce job stress
- Reduce or eliminate physical exertion
- Provide parking close to the worksite
- Switch to an ergonomic chair
- Keep work environment free from dust, smoke, odor, and fumes
- Implement a “fragrance-free” workplace policy and a “smoke-free” building policy
- Avoid temperature extremes
- Use fan/air-conditioner or heater at the workstation
- Redirect air conditioning and heating vents
- Provide sensitivity training to coworkers
- Allow telephone calls during work hours to doctors and others for support
- Provide information on counseling and employee assistance programs
- Restructure job to only include essential functions
- Control glare by adding a glare screen to the computer
- Move workstation closer to the restroom
- Provide access to a refrigerator
- Allow for a workstation to minimize distractions
- Allow a self-paced workload
- Provide ergonomic workstation
- Install low wattage overhead lights
- Use computer monitor glare guards
- Avoid infectious agents and chemicals.
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