It can be a humbling experience to have to admit your limitations after you get hurt on the job or diagnosed with a serious medical condition. Some people delay reporting an injury to their employer or put off seeking medical care because they hope that the problem will just resolve on its own.
However, especially if you have a repetitive stress injury from doing the same work all the time, trying to push through the pain might make things worse. As a worker with a medical condition, you have the right to request reasonable accommodations from your employer that help you stay on the job.
While the kind of injury you have in the nature of your work will influence what kind of accommodations you need, there are three kinds of accommodations that most employers should be able to provide.
Additional breaks or more varied job responsibilities
Sometimes, all that you need to prevent a condition from flaring up is 10 minutes an hour doing a different kind of work. Although many companies expect their workers to do the same task all day every day, that may no longer be a realistic expectation after your injury.
Provided that your doctor’s recommendations support your request for varied job responsibilities or frequent breaks to rest, stretch or exercise the affected body part, your employer should be able to accommodate those needs with minimal loss on their part.
Remote work for those who do not do hands-on jobs
Although many companies have long resisted the growing move to transition workers to remote work, society has perhaps reached critical mass on this issue. Now that millions of people know they can do their job from home, it will be much harder for companies to justify refusing remote work in the future. That is particularly true when the worker asking to do their work remotely has a disabling medical condition or is pregnant and requires rest.
Safe access to basic facilities in the building
Employers should have bathrooms, desks and workstations that are accessible to those with mobility limitations. Whether you need to use a cane, crutches or a wheelchair, it is typically reasonable to expect to be able to enter your place of employment and access facilities like the bathroom and the kitchenette.
When employers refuse to accommodate medical conditions, they engage in discrimination based on someone’s medical condition. Advocating for yourself might involve pushing for the accommodations you need or even taking legal action against your employer so they can’t discriminate against anyone else in the future.