When do I identify with disability?
Jan 27, 1999
You often advise people to take advantage of the ADA and identify oneself at work as a person with a disability. Is it a good idea to do this even BEFORE one needs any 'reasonable accomodation'?
Response from Ms. Breuer
Good question. Generally, the best time to identify is the point where you request a reasonable accommodation. An employer could well wonder why you're advising him or her of a disability in the absence of that need. The trick is recognizing when you need the accommodation. Please do not wait until the lack of an accommodation has damaged your performance evaluations. Be alert to the feedback you receive from your supervisor and team members. If you find them expressing a sense that you're not fulfilling expectations, take a hard look at your stamina, mental alertness and other job-related characteristics. If one is slipping, waste no time in talking with your health care provider about resolving the problem or accommodating it. Then, if you do need an accommodation, carry the request to your human resources director in the form of a note from your health care provider. (Remind your health care provider that the note should describe the requested accommodations and explain that you are under treatment for a disability, but should not name the diagnosis.)
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