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Accommodation of a disability

Does the employer have a duty to offer a reasonable accommodation to an employee with a disability who has not asked for one?

No. Because an employee’s disability and related need for accommodation are often not known to the employer until the employee requests an accommodation, the American with Disabilities Act’s (ADA) reasonable accommodation requirement usually does not apply unless triggered by a request from the employee. The employee’s request must be sufficiently direct and specific, giving notice that she needs a special accommodation. At the least, the request must explain how the accommodation requested is linked to some disability.  Even if the employer suspects the employee has a disability which affects her ability to do her job, it is up to the employee to initiate the dialogue with the employer about possible accommodations.  Reed v. LePage Bakeries, Inc.  244 F.3d 254 (1st Cir. 2001).

Pamela A. Smith
Law Office of Pamela A. Smith
233 Needham Street, Suite 540
Newton, MA 02464


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