Reasonable Accommodation for People with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Reasonable Accommodation forPeople with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires covered employers to make reasonable accommodation to the known physical or mental limitations of qualified individuals with disabilities, unless it results in undue hardship. Undue hardship is defined as something requiring significant difficulty or expense with respect to the employer's size, financial resources, and the nature of its operations.
Reasonable accommodation may include making existing facilities readily accessible; job restructuring; modifying work schedules; reassignment to a vacant position; acquiring or modifying equipment or devices; adjusting or modifying examinations, training materials, or policies; providing qualified readers or interpreters; and more.
Accommodations must be determined on an individual, case-by-case basis. There is no cookie-cutter approach to finding an appropriate accommodation.
The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) is a free service designed to increase employment of workers with disabilities by providing individualized work accommodations solutions and suggestions, providing technical assistance regarding the ADA and other disability-related laws, and educating callers about self-employment options. JAN is provided by the Office of Disability Employment Policy of the U.S. Department of Labor. JAN represents the most comprehensive resource for job accommodations available. www.jan.wvu.edu; (800) 526-7234 telephone – (877) 781-9403 TTY
JAN suggests the following inquiries to help assess what accommodations are appropriate:
What limitations is the employee with a mental impairment experiencing?
How do these limitations affect the employee and the employee’s job performance?
What specific job tasks are problematic as a result of these limitations?
What accommodations are available to reduce or eliminate these problems? Are all possible resources being used to determine possible accommodations?
Has the employee with a mental impairment been consulted regarding possible accommodations?
Once accommodations are in place, would it be useful to meet with the employee with a to evaluate the effectiveness of the accommodations and to determine whether additional accommodations are needed?
Do supervisory personnel and employees need training regarding mental impairments?
Some possible reasonable accommodations for persons with anxiety disorders, including obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), include:
Allow a self-paced workload
Allow additional time to learn new responsibilities and/or for training
Allow flexible work hours, make-up time and part-time
Allow frequent or longer breaks, with backup coverage
Allow telephone calls or time off during work hours to consult with doctors and others for needed support, counseling or therapy
Allow the employee control of his/her workspace
Allow the employee to take a break to use stress management techniques to cope with frustration
Allow the employee to tape record meetings and/or provide typed minutes
Allow the presence of a support animal
Allow working from home all or part of the time, and provide necessary equipment
Ask for and implement employee input
Develop a procedure to objectively evaluate the effectiveness of the accommodation
Develop strategies to handle problems before they arise
Develop written work agreements that include the agreed upon accommodations, clear expectations of responsibilities and the consequences of not meeting performance standards
Divide large assignments into smaller tasks and goals
Do not require all employees to attend work related social functions
Educate all employees on their right to accommodations
Encourage employees to move non-work conversations out of work areas
Ensure employees are welcome to communicate openly with managers and supervisors without reprisal
Establish written long term and short term goals
Increase natural lighting or provide full spectrum lighting
Make daily To Do lists and check items off as they are completed
Move the employee to a private office or an area with less distractions
Plan for uninterrupted work time
Provide job coaches
Provide job sharing opportunities
Provide positive praise and reinforcement
Provide sensitivity training to coworkers and supervisors
Provide weekly/monthly meetings with the employee to discuss workplace issues and productions levels
Provide written job instructions and checklists
Providing gradual updates on forthcoming changes
Recognize that a change in the office environment or of supervisors may be difficult for a person with an anxiety disorder. When an employee is given a new supervisor, allow the employee to have contact with the prior supervisor to assist in an effective transition
Reduce distractions in the work area, including by providing white noise/environmental sound machines, or allow the employee to play soothing music using a headset; use sound absorption panels, cubicle walls and doors
Refer to counseling and employee assistance programs
Remind employee of important meetings and deadlines, and provide a calendar
Restructure the job to include only essential functions
Use electronic organizers, watches, and timers with prompts