Fighting For
Employee And Union Rights
Fighting For
Employee And Union Rights

Workers’ rights for disability accommodations

On Behalf of | Jun 13, 2024 | Employment Law

If you suffer from a disability that impacts your ability to do your job, you have the right to request reasonable accommodation.  Disability is broadly defined to include physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities in its untreated state.  Major life activities can include fundamental functions like caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and working.

Common accommodations in the workplace

Employers may be required to make several accommodations to support employees with disabilities. Here are a few examples:

  • Ergonomic workstations tailored to individuals can reduce strain and increase comfort.
  • Flexible scheduling allows for medical appointments and rest periods.
  • Assistive technology tools aid in communication and task management.
  • Modified duties can mean adjusting job responsibilities to match the employee’s abilities.
  • Policy updates protect the specific needs of workers who require support, such as service animals, job coaches or other resources.

A reasonable accommodation is one that allows the employee to perform the essential functions of the job without causing the employer an undue hardship.

Knowing and exercising your rights

As a worker in Michigan, you have the right to reasonable accommodations for your disability. It’s important to communicate your needs to your employer clearly. If you are unsure about how to proceed, consider the following steps:

  • Start a dialogue: Discuss your needs with your employer directly and clearly.
  • Ask questions: Make sure to ask management what the employer’s procedure is for requesting a reasonable accommodation.
  • Provide documentation: Share relevant information about your disability, if required, and put employment- or disability-related concerns in writing.
  • Get help: Contact an attorney to discuss any concerns regarding whether you suffer from a disability, what could constitute a reasonable accommodation, or how to approach the employer to make a request.

Remember, advocating for your needs is not just about creating a comfortable work environment—it’s about ensuring equal access to employment opportunities.

Michigan’s commitment to disability accommodations in the workplace is both a legal requirement and a reflection of values. When you know your rights and how to ask for what you need, you help create a workplace that values everyone.