Establishing Eligibility: Does my condition qualify as a disability?

In order to be eligible for reasonable workplace accommodations, the employee (or applicant) must have a medical condition that constitutes a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act, as amended (ADA). Disability is defined broadly under the ADA and workplace accommodations are available to individuals who have “a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities” or a record of such an impairment.

The Office of Human Resources works directly with the employee and relies upon information from the employee’s healthcare provider (e.g., doctor, nurse practitioner, physical therapist, etc.) to assess whether their medical condition qualifies as a disability.

Typically,  employees are asked to have their healthcare provider complete the Medical Provider Form (below) to provide information regarding eligibility and recommendations for possible workplace accommodations. In some circumstances, HR will request supplemental information to determine whether the identified medical condition qualifies as a disability, what accommodations may be effective, and if the employee is able to safely perform the functions of their position. While documentation establishing eligibility is not necessary for individuals who have obvious impairments, information from the healthcare provider may be helpful in understanding the scope of limitations and for recommendations regarding effective accommodations.

Any information that is obtained from the employee or their healthcare provider regarding the employee’s underlying medical condition is maintained in a confidential file in the Office of Human Resources.