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Under the ADA does an employer have to provide accommodation for an employee who requests it, has a diagnosis for panic attack?

Kansas City, MO |

Provided a doctors note and requested accommodation for one area in work place due to suffering panic attacks when working in that area. Employer refused accommodation. Employee diagnosed and medicated for anxiety and panic attacks, doctor requested accommodation for employee.

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It depends on whether the accommodation requested was "reasonable." In order to assess that, we would likely need more information. You should consider calling a local employment attorney, most do free consultations.

This answer is solely for assistance via the AVVO network. My answer to this question does not create an attorney-client relationship. I would appreciate your marking my answer as helpful if you find that to be the case.

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Your lawyer will need more information

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It depends on a number of factors. Not all requested accommodations need to be provided and it will be a fact specific analysis.

Chris Kalberg, Kalberg Law Office, L.L.C. (913) 825-6670, No attorney client relationship is created via any Q&A session on this or any other website no comment or answer proffered may be construed as legal advice.

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I am a California attorney and cannot give legal advice in your state. My comments are information only, based on federal law and general legal principles. YOUR STATE MAY HAVE ITS OWN LAWS THAT OFFER SIMILAR OR GREATER PROTECTION. If I mention your state’s laws, it only means I did a quick Internet search and found something that looked relevant. You MUST check with an attorney licensed in your state to learn your rights.

An employee or job applicant may have rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, 42 U.S.C. sections 12101 et seq. (ADA). This law applies to employers with at least 15 employees. To be eligible for the protection of the ADA, the employee or applicant must have a disability as defined by the ADA. This definition is “a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.” The impairment must be permanent or of long duration, such as one year.

If these requirements are met, the employer may be required to provide reasonable accommodation. Reasonable accommodation may include transferring some non-essential job duties to other employees, providing equipment or devices to enable the employee to do the main functions of the job, allowing extra time off work for things related to the disability, and more. For applicants, the employer may need to provide reasonable accommodation in the form of extra time for qualification tests, better lighting, or any other modification that enables the applicant to apply.

While an employer does not have to provide the reasonable accommodation the employee asks for, the employer does have to provide a reasonable accommodation that is effective. Often, there is more than one way to meet the employee's needs.

Also, the employer may not treat an employee or applicant differently from other employees because of disability. For example, the employer may not refuse to hire or promote an individual, deny training or otherwise limit job opportunities, and the employer may not fire a person because of disability.

Please look at my Avvo guide on the ADA:

You may also wish to review my Avvo guide on reasonable accommodation for people with OCD: I know that OCD is a very different disability from other anxiety disorders, but some of the reasonable accommodations for OCD are also effective for other mental health disabilities.

Employment law is complicated and fact-specific. You may wish to consult with an experienced plaintiffs employment lawyer. You can find a plaintiffs employment attorney on the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA) web site NELA is the largest and most influential bar association in the country for attorneys representing working people. You can search by location and practice area. Also, NELA has affiliates in every state and many cities which are listed on the NELA site. Not all NELA attorneys are named on the web site or affiliate site. This should not influence your selection; attorneys can choose whether or not to purchase a listing in the national directory, and each affiliate has its own rules for listing.

I hope you can resolve your situation and wish you the best.

@MikaSpencer * * * PLEASE READ: All legal actions have time limits, called statutes of limitation. If you miss the deadline for filing your claim, you will lose the opportunity to pursue your case. Please consult with an experienced employment attorney as soon as possible to better preserve your rights. * * * Marilynn Mika Spencer provides information on Avvo as a service to the public, primarily when general information may be of assistance. Avvo is not an appropriate forum for an in-depth response or a detailed analysis. These comments are for information only and must not be taken as legal advice. Legal advice must pertain to specific, detailed facts which are impossible to gather on a public web site like Avvo. * * * No attorney-client relationship is created based on this information exchange. * * *

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