Employment Rights for People with Disabilities: Sample Letter Requesting Reasonable Accommodation
Here is a sample letter to request a reasonable accommodation for your disability. This particular letter shows an example of how to request a change in policy (for example, asking the employer to make an exception to their hiring policy regarding prior criminal convictions), for a job applicant whose conviction was caused by his/her disability (i.e., prior substance abuse that led to a drug conviction).
For sample letters to request other types of reasonable accommodations (including changes in work schedule, equipment and physical spaces, and time off from work), visit Legal Aid Society Employment Law Center at https://las-elc.org/sample-letters-and-forms.
TO: [Name of Human Resources director, supervisor, or manager]
FROM: [Your name]
RE: Request for Reasonable Accommodation
DATE: [Today’s date]
This is a request for reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). If you are not the appropriate person to receive this request, please notify me immediately, and forward this letter on to the person who handles requests for reasonable accommodation.
I am a person with a “disability” under state and federal laws. My condition is: [state the name or a description of your condition using language you feel comfortable with—see below for additional information]. Due to my disability, I am requesting the following modification of workplace policy: [describe what change in workplace policy or rule you want and how it relates to your disability—see examples below].
According to the ADA and the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), modified policies are a form of reasonable accommodation. See 42 U.S.C. § 12111(9)(B) and the section entitled “Modified Workplace Policies” in EEOC Enforcement Guidance on Reasonable Accommodation and Undue Hardship Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, both available at www.eeoc.gov.
Please let me know if you require reasonable medical documentation of my condition, or if you wish to propose alternative accommodations to those I have requested. I am ready and willing to engage in the interactive process with you so that I may continue in my employment.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT DESCRIBING YOUR DISABILITY:
If your disability is prior substance abuse, you should make clear that you are no longer using illegal drugs, and explain what rehabilitation or treatment you have received for your disability.EXAMPLES OF CHANGES IN WORKPLACE POLICIES OR RULES, AND HOW THEY MAY RELATE TO A DISABILITY:
- “I am requesting an exception to your policy against hiring people with certain types of criminal convictions. Due to my prior drug addiction, I was convicted of drug possession several years ago. However, I have successfully completed rehabilitation and stayed clean and sober for 3 years.” “Due to my rehabilitation treatments, I need to constantly drink water. I would like to carry water on the floor.” “I would like to use a stool while working the checkout station because of my knee and ankle injury.” “Because of my disability, I have difficulty concentrating and can get startled by noises around me. I would like to listen to music on headphones at work.”“Because of my diabetes, I sometimes need to eat immediately. I would like to keep food at my desk.” “Because of my disability, I need unscheduled bathroom breaks—I cannot wait for my scheduled break.” “I need an extension of leave beyond what is provided in our employee handbook.”