You’ve recently taken a new job in Rhode Island. For the most part, things are going well, but you feel that your attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has started to interfere with some aspects of your work and are considering asking for workplace accommodations. How do you approach your employer?
Reasons for accommodations
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination at work if you have a disability. Even though ADHD is classified as a disability, you may not qualify for accommodations if it’s not affecting your job. Employees can request accommodations anytime during their employment, even if they did not reveal their ADHD during the job interview process. You should request accommodations when you realize that you have an obstacle that seriously affects your ability to do the work properly. Ideally, you should approach your supervisor or employer about your concerns before your job performance suffers.
When approaching your employer about the problem, explain what aspect of your ADHD contributes to your difficulty completing tasks. Brainstorm about what could help you concentrate more fully and complete the tasks at hand. Consider several possibilities and try one at a time to see which works best.
What if my employer refuses reasonable accommodations?
State and federal employment law require companies with 15 or more employees to provide reasonable accommodations when an employee asks. Examples of reasonable accommodations for ADHD include breaking down tasks into smaller components, using shorter deadlines and having regular check-ins with supervisors.
Requests can be either verbal or in writing. However, if your employer refuses to accommodate your request, ensure you have documented all steps to modify your work and what additional steps are still required. Such information is necessary if you want to file a claim in court against your employer for discrimination.