Employing and accommodating workers with psychiatric disabilities
Allowing an employee to be accompanied by a job coach who is paid by a public or private social service agency is also considered a reasonable accommodation.
Q: Are there any exceptions to the “reasonable accommodations” requirements of the ADA?
Although the ADA does not apply to the federal government as an employer, discrimination by the federal government or by federally assisted programs is prohibited under Title V of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. A: Under the ADA, the term “disability” means: “(1) a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of [an] individual; (2) a record of such an impairment; or (3) being regarded as having such an impairment.” It’s important to note that under this definition, not every impairment is a disability.
To rise to the level of a disability, an impairment must substantially limit one or more major life activities.
A variety of healthcare professionals may provide such documentation.
Q: Are employers required to provide a reasonable accommodation if the employee does not use that term in requesting it? An employee requesting an accommodation may use “plain English” and need not mention the ADA or use the phrase “reasonable accommodation.” For example, an employee’s statement for time off because he or she is “stressed out” is considered sufficient under the ADA to put an employer on notice that the employee is requesting a reasonable accommodation.
Employers must maintain such information on separate forms and in separate medical files, apart from normal personnel files.
Instead, it must be based on objective evidence obtained from a healthcare professional or some other credible source.
Q: Do requests for reasonable accommodation need to be made in writing? Employees may request accommodations verbally or by any other method of communication.
– The ADA states that supervisors play a central role in achieving effective “reasonable accommodations” for their employees.
Therefore, adjustment of supervisory methods is among the accommodations that are considered reasonable.