Numerous people in the Washington, D.C., area and elsewhere live with chronic pain. The pain could result from a chronic illness, be a permanent side effect of a previous injury or occur due to another health-related issue. In many cases, individuals with chronic pain do not have any visible signs of pain-causing issues, which can sometimes mean they are not taken seriously by employers or others when they indicate a need for assistance or extra time off. However, this issue could warrant reasonable accommodation in the workplace.
Though chronic pain can certainly cause issues in people’s lives, it does not always mean that those individuals are unable to work. They may have long stretches where their pain is manageable, and they may also be able to reduce the intensity of their pain with certain accommodations. Though requesting assistance-related changes in the workplace may be nerve-wracking, it is the right of workers to do so under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Some specific accommodations that those living with chronic pain may request include the following:
- Ergonomic seating and desk accommodations
- Additional breaks to prevent standing or sitting too long
- Limitations on the amount of physical exertion required
- A flexible work schedule
- Telecommute or remote work options
- Handicap parking space
Of course, the specific reasonable accommodation that an employee with chronic pain might need depends on the cause of the pain and where they feel the pain in their body. It may be necessary to discuss possible accommodation options with an employer to determine what modifications could best help the situation and are feasible for the employer to provide. If employees in the Washington, D.C., area believe that their employers are not providing proper assistance as required by law, they may wish to obtain an assessment of their situation and additional guidance on courses of action.