Living with Chronic Pain
Do Individuals With Disabilities Need to Provide Medical Documentation to Receive Workplace Accommodations?
In addition to providing other various protections for individuals with disabilities, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) also protects individuals with disabilities from discrimination during the job application and hiring process. It also ensures that employers provide reasonable accommodations for individuals with disabilities to perform their work successfully. In general, any employer with 15 or more employees is required to follow the ADA.
What does the ADA consider a disability?
According to the ADA, an individual has a disability if they have a “physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.” Seeing, hearing, walking, standing, lifting, reading and learning are considered “major life activities.”
The ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA) ensures that some impairments and medical conditions are automatically considered disabilities, including deafness, blindness, autism, cancer, diabetes, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Is it necessary to disclose a disability?
An employee only needs to disclose a medical condition or disability if they are requesting reasonable workplace accommodations. Reasonable accommodations help individuals with a disability or medical condition successfully complete their job. Examples include changing job tasks, making changes to the employee’s workspace, providing assistive devices, allowing for regular breaks, and providing reserved parking close to the building.
Is medical documentation of a disability required?
When an employee requests a reasonable accommodation, the employer may request official medical documentation of the employee’s disability or medical condition. This documentation must outline the need for the accommodation. The employer and employee can then work together to procure and implement an effective accommodation.
If an employee is not requesting an accommodation, they do not need to disclose or provide medical documentation of a disability or medical condition to their employer.