How should you ask for a reasonable accommodation?
The ADA does not require that you ask for a reasonable accommodation from a specific person, such as a supervisor, another superior, or a human resources (HR) representative. However, it is a good idea to check your employers’ policies, typically found in an employee handbook, to see if your employer has a specific process for requesting reasonable accommodations. If your employer doesn’t have a process, you can decide if you want to start by asking your supervisor or if you want to talk with an HR representative.
When you make your request, you do not have to specifically mention the ADA or use the words “reasonable accommodation.” Your request does not need to be in writing, but you may decide that you want the record of your request. If you decide not make your request in writing, you can follow up any conversations with an informal email or a more formal letter or contract confirming what was agreed upon. Remember your current supervisor may not always be your supervisor.
Once you make a request, you and your employer are supposed to engage in the “interactive process.” The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) describes the interactive process as the way to negotiate and come to an agreement on an effective reasonable accommodation.
Your need for an accommodation may change over time. For example, you may need a flexible work schedule while you are going through treatment, but once you are done with treatment the accommodation that would be more helpful are additional rest periods during the day. Part of the interactive process requires that you and your employer monitor accommodations to ensure that they are still effective, and if not, start the process over to identify a new effective accommodation.