Employee work accommodations

Employees with a disability may get accommodations so they can do their job effectively. A disability is a medical or psychological condition that seriously limits your activities. For an accommodation not related to a disability, talk to your supervisor.

Work accommodations could include:

  • Making your work space easier to access and use
  • Changing your job duties
  • Changing your work schedule
  • Getting or changing equipment
  • Moving you to another position
  • Providing you readers or interpreters
  • Allowing time off for medical treatment

Work accommodations can be temporary or permanent.

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Employees

Requesting a work accommodation

Requesting a work accommodation is intended to be an interactive process between the employee and employer. As such, you will be asked to clarify and work collaboratively to address your request.

Complete the accommodation request form

Once you submit the request, it goes to your supervisor. To discuss your request before submitting it, contact the HR leave and accommodation management office at HR.LAM.Office@hennepin.us.

Access the form

Medical documentation

In most cases, you must provide medical documentation to support your need for a work accommodation. If you already have supporting medical documentation, email it to the HR leave and accommodation management (LAM) office at HR.LAM.Office@hennepin.us. If received medical documentation is not sufficient or if the LAM office does not have sufficient supporting medical documentation, you will need to work with your provider and the LAM office to ensure sufficient medical documentation is received in a timely manner.

For medical documentation, there is no specific form to give to your provider to complete. You and the LAM office, with a signed release, will work together with your provider to get medical documentation that includes:

  • What is restricting and/or limiting employee from performing job functions
  • How these restrictions/limitations affect the job performance
  • What specific job tasks are problematic as a result of the limitations
  • Accommodation start and end date
  • Suggested remedy to restrictions/limitations

Discuss your request with your supervisor

Once you submit the request, plan to meet with your supervisor within a week. If you have not heard from your supervisor within a week, contact the HR leave and accommodation management office. During your discussion, you and your supervisor will discuss your request so they have a better understanding of your need.

Work accommodation decision

Your supervisor will approve or deny your request.

Next steps

If approved, create a plan with your supervisor to make the change. If denied and you’d like to discuss it, contact the HR leave and accommodation management office at HR.LAM.Office@hennepin.us.

Supervisors

Process for supervisors to follow

Have the employee fill out a work accommodations request form

If your employee expresses concerns about needing devices or assistance to perform essential functions of their job, instruct the employee to complete the work accommodation request. You can also fill it out for them.

If the employee turns in medical information, forward it to the HR leave and accommodation management office. Medical information the employee shares with you should remain confidential. The employee may be eligible for Family Medical Leave. Learn more on the employee leave of absence page.

Access the form 

Review the request

Review the work accommodation submitted by your employee. Determine how the employee's disability affects their ability to perform the essential functions of their job. This may not be clear without medical information. HR leave and accommodation management office will assist with this step.

Review the employee’s essential job functions

Review the employee's essential job functions (contact your HR Business Partner if you need assistance identifying the essential job functions). Determine how the requested work accommodation affects their ability to perform their essential job functions.

Meet with the employee

Meet with your employee within one week to discuss the work accommodation request. This will help you understand the employee's need for the work accommodation. (During this meeting, do not discuss medical conditions and details.) Document the employee's essential job functions and your discussion on the guided questions form and submit to the HR leave and accommodation management office.

Note: Most work accommodation requests require supporting medical documentation prior to making the decision to approve or deny the request. The LAM office will work with the employee to obtain medical documentation if it is needed.

Discuss accommodation request with LAM Office

Work with the HR leave and accommodation management office to ensure sufficient supporting medical has been received and to assist you in identifying a reasonable accommodation. For example, you may have questions about how the employee’s condition relates to the need for accommodation. The employee’s preference should come first. But you can choose a less costly or easier option if it’s equally effective.

Decision to approve or deny request

Decide whether to approve or deny the request and complete the supervisor response form:

  • If you approve the request, create a plan with the employee to make the needed change
  • If you decide to deny the request, contact the HR leave and accommodation management office before issuing the denial

Decision letter

After the LAM office receives the supervisor response form, a draft decision letter will be sent to you to ensure all components of the accommodation decision are reflected in the letter.

Review the draft decision letter and respond to the LAM office with changes. Final decision letter will be sent to the employee, supervisor, LAM office and the HR business partner.

Consulting services for a work accommodation request

All employees, including supervisors and managers, can get help from the HR leave and accommodation management office to:

  • Provide an overview of accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act, legal options, medical resources and past practice for responding to certain requests
  • Clarify medical limitations with doctors or other providers
  • Research accommodation options by consulting with outside resources and service providers
  • Act as a "neutral third party" between employee and supervisor, especially with respect to highly confidential medical problems or when performance or discipline arises during accommodation review
  • Assist employees in generating accommodation options especially if the employee is addressing a new medical limitation
  • Act as "disability case manager" with complex cases involving disability plus performance concerns or chronic and changing medical conditions
  • Coordinate assistance to help an employee assess their benefit options in cases of medical leaves of absence or retirement for medical reasons
  • Advise supervisors on return-to-work questions related to family and medical leave and other medical leaves, and coordinate any new return-to-work accommodations
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