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How Do You Request Accommodation Under the ADA?

February 25, 2019 Americans with Disabilities Act Claims

There are no formal procedures, but there are things you should know

Perhaps you’ve suffered an illness or injury. If so, like many other Americans, one day you may need to request accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Under the ADA, employers with 15 or more employees—as well as government institutions—are required to provide reasonable accommodation to employees with disabilities so they can perform their jobs.

If you ever find yourself in this situation, here are a few tips for making the request.

You don’t need to use specific phrases. To request an accommodation, all you need to do is tell your employer in plain language. There’s no need to use specific wording like “reasonable accommodation” or bring up the ADA, so if you’ve already made a request using general language, that’s OK.

Generally, the best way to do it is to inform your employer of the problem you’re having, and connect it to your medical condition. For instance:

  • “I’m having trouble making it to work at 8 in the morning because of my physical therapy.”
  • “I need three weeks off to recuperate from surgery.”
  • “My wheelchair can’t fit under the desk in my office.”

You need to disclose your disability. Technically, your employer is only required to make reasonable accommodation for you if you have a disability. So you will need to disclose your disability to your employer in order to make the request.

For instance, simply requesting a new ergonomic desk chair because your existing one is uncomfortable may not be enough to trigger reasonable accommodation under the ADA—because the request isn’t connected to a disability.

You don’t have to make the request in writing—but you should. Legally, requests for reasonable accommodation can be either verbal or in writing. Either way, your employer has to act on it.

However, it’s very useful to have a written record of your request—even if your employer doesn’t require it. If there’s a dispute, you’ll be able to prove that you made the request and verify the timing.

You should also keep notes of any conversations you have with management about your accommodation. If your employers doesn’t properly accommodate you, it will be helpful to have a record of the process you went though.

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Do you have a disability? Are you considering making a request for reasonable accommodation under the ADA? If so, a lawyer who specializes in employment law can help guide you through the process—and ensure you cover all your bases in case of a dispute. Email us at, or call 267-273-1054 for a free, confidential consultation.