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No magic words needed to ask for ADA accommodations

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

Disabled employees who want reasonable accommodations don’t have to specifically use those words.

Recent case: Susan worked for years as a teacher. During a meeting on her performance, she explained that she had depression and requested a temporary transfer to a substitute teaching position to alleviate stress.

Her request was denied and she sued, alleging failure to accommodate.

The court said her case could go forward even though she had not specifically requested a reasonable accommodation. It said when Susan told her supervisor she was being treated for depression and wanted to be a substitute teacher, her employer should have considered that an accommodation request. Although Susan didn’t use the words “reasonable accommodation,” her request should have triggered the interactive accommodations process. (Aptaker v. Bucks County, No. 14-2255, ED PA, 2015)

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