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Your Employee Matters


By January 1, 2011No Comments

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits employers from telling coworkers anything about an employee’s disability, including the fact that an employee is receiving an accommodation. However, in some cases, the employee might want to educate coworkers voluntarily about the disability and accommodation, especially if their coworkers are going to notice the accommodation anyway. For example, if an employee with a disability is using a service dog at work, it might be useful to educate coworkers about service dogs. Or, suppose an employee has severe allergies and needs to avoid inadvertent exposure at work. Here are some general guidelines for employees with disabilities communicating information about their disability and accommodation to their fellow workers:

  • Keep the conversation work related.
  • Let coworkers know why you’re telling them about your disability.
  • Don’t assume that they know anything about your disability; be prepared to provide general information if relevant.
  • Let coworkers know what you need from them and why you need it.
  • Explain to them what accommodations you’ll need and how they will help you perform your job.
  • Be positive and open, but limit the information you provide to the amount that you’re comfortable sharing.

– Linda Carter Batiste, J.D., Principal Consultant, Job Accommodation Network (JAN)