Reasonable Accommodations and Fairness
Q: How does an individual advocate when the employer says certain requests are not fair to other employees?
A: There is no simple solution to this question. Employers do not always know about the ADA or understand all of its implications. The ADA is meant to create equal access and equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities. This often means using flexible thinking to realize that policies, procedures, practices, and the physical work environment may need to be reasonably modified.
Having a reasonable accommodation is not an unfair advantage but is a means of creating an equal opportunity for a person to do their job, their essential job functions. The individual with a disability can share with their employer that reasonable accommodation is not special or preferential treatment, but a change needed to allow a person to do their work and to be productive. Figuring out the best strategy for how to communicate this depends on the person, what they are comfortable sharing on their own behalf, the work environment, and what kind of support (if any) they might be able to get from within their organization.