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Checklist: Reasonable Accommodations


Ann has decided to work through her cancer treatment, as a cashier at a supermarket. She is having trouble with fatigue and is limited in how long she can stand at a time. She also has to constantly drink water because of the effect of her treatment, and as a result, she has to use the restroom often. The supermarket does not allow employees to have beverages at the checkout stand and she is only allowed breaks every 4 hours. Can Ann use reasonable accommodations at work?

Identify what is challenging at work.

  • Space? Policy? Schedule? Workload? Other things?

Gather information.

  • Your job responsibilities and past job performance
  • Your treatment information (e.g., other possible side effects, schedule, etc.)
  • Workplace policies (e.g., telecommuting, flex time, job sharing, etc.)
  • Workplace culture (e.g., other employee examples, past experiences, etc.)
  • Established process to ask for an accommodation

Understand your rights.

For more information, visit our Work & Cancer Topics Page.

Come up with a plan.

  • Think creatively about what could help address the challenges you are facing at work
    • Everything is on the table (unless it is “unreasonable” or is an “undue hardship” on your employer)
    • Come up with a list of options that might help. They might not pick your first choice, but what they pick has to be effective. Get ideas from the Job Accommodation Network
    • You can also get more than one accommodation.
  • Decide who to first approach to ask for your accommodation (e.g., supervisor, human resources representative, etc.)
  • Identify the best time AND best way to ask for your accommodation (e.g., in-person, in writing, does your employer have an established process to ask for an accommodation, etc.)

Make sure everyone is on the same page.

  • Get it in writing. After you request an accommodation it is important to document it. Your employer may have a process for this. It could be as simple as sending an email thanking your employer for having the conversation and agreeing to a specific accommodation(s). This can help avoid miscommunication and issues down the road.
  • Make your disclosure preferences known (e.g., to supervisors, co-workers, etc.)
    • If you chose to go to HR and don’t want your supervisor to know about your medical condition, HR can only share that you have been granted a specific accommodation.
  • Understand the interactive process
  • Your needs may change over time. You can ask for new accommodations.

Watch our animated video on Dealing with Side Effects at Work

For more information, see our Work & Cancer Topics Page.

Last reviewed for updates: 01/2022

Disclaimer: This handout is intended to provide general information on the topics presented. It is provided with the understanding that Triage Cancer is not engaged in rendering any legal, medical, or professional services by its publication or distribution. Although this content was reviewed by a professional, it should not be used as a substitute for professional services. © Triage Cancer 2022

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