Jul 22, 2013
Hello, I work in a call center for a very large financial companies. I was diagnosed with AIDS in 2008 and I have received chemo once in 2009 for Burkitts lymphoma and again in 2010. In 2011 my employer approved my reasonable accommodation to work from home. I am doing much better now but may need to go through another round of chemo depending on my next scan. My question is this, if I have to undergo chemo again is it reasonable for me to request a reasonable accommodation to switch my phone answering duties for other duties. For example we offer online assistance so I could still complete the essential functions of my job to answer customer inquiries or in another bank department, such as billing, that doesn't have phone answering requirement. Thanks
Response from Mr. Chambers
Reasonable Accommodation under ADA is purposely a vague term because what is reasonable for one employer may be unreasonable for another. It sounds like you work for a very large company so there are more accommodations that are "reasonable" there than elsewhere.
A common misunderstanding about it, however, is that the employer decides what the "reasonable accommodation" will be, not the employee nor the doctor. You and the doctor can and should recommend what the accommodation might be and what limitations you have that would point to that recommended accommodation.
In requesting reasonable accommodation, it would help if you and your doctor could give reasons why answering phones would no longer be reasonable or even possible, but other positions in the company that has multiple people in the same position might be better suited for you due to your current condition.
You should include a reason why another position besides phone answering would be a better accommodation, which would include difficulties with phone answering that would be present in the recommended position.
Good luck, Jacques
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