HR Question of the Week – February 15, 2016

Question:

One of our employees has asked for an accommodation. Her desk currently faces a wall, and she has asked to move, claiming that for medical reasons she needs to be able to see at a farther distance whenever she looks up. Is it appropriate to ask for medical documentation before considering her request?

Answer:

If the employee has a disability (a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity), you must consider an accommodation for the employee. At present, however, you do not have enough information to know whether her condition qualifies as a disability. So, yes, a request for medical documentation would be appropriate.

Explain to the employee that you are willing to consider the workplace accommodation if her treating physician completes and returns an ADA Medical Inquiry Form. This form, which we have available for you in the HR Support Center, substantiates an employee’s impairment and need for accommodation. Tell the employee that having her doctor complete the form is completely optional, but that the company needs a completed form in order to consider a workplace accommodation. We recommend giving the employee at least two weeks to return the form.

If the employee returns the form, the next step would be to discuss with her what reasonable accommodations (such as moving her desk) could be made without putting an undue burden on the company. If you get to this step, just let us know and we’d be happy to give you some tips and strategies for evaluating accommodations.

Source: HR Support Center | Copyright © 2017 AdvaPay Systems, LLC

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