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What to do When Your Disability is Affecting Your Work Performance

A physical or mental disability can affect many aspects of your day to day life, including your job performance. Though you may put your best effort into doing your work, a disability can affect your performance and leave you concerned about what this means in terms of your employment.

If you find yourself worrying about how your disability is affecting your job performance, there are a few things you can do: 

  • Know the Law

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal law that protects people with disabilities from discrimination in the workplace. It gives employees the choice of whether and when to disclose their disability to their employer and provides protections against discrimination. It also requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities. If a person does experience discrimination or an employer won’t provide reasonable accommodations, the employee can bring a legal claim against their employer. Understanding this law can bring some peace of mind and be helpful as you make decisions on what to do when your disability is impacting your work performance. 

  • Talk to Your Employer

Working with a physical or mental disability can certainly mean that some days are harder than others. If you notice your disability is starting to negatively affect your work performance, consider talking to your employer. If you haven’t disclosed your disability, it can feel frightening to share this personal information with your boss but know that sharing your situation can ultimately be a good thing. 

Once your employer is aware of your disability, it can lead to more understanding on their part. Rather than having to explain away poor performance on a particular day, you can help your employer understand how your disability impacted your work that day. Your employer can also take steps to help you, specifically by providing accommodations. You can feel more at ease knowing your employer is aware of your situation. 

  • Ask for Accommodations

As mentioned before, under the ADA you are entitled to reasonable accommodations in the workplace if you have a disability. However, you have to ask for them. Your employer isn’t required to give you an accommodation if they aren’t aware you need it. Drew Lewis, PC suggests that if you feel like your disability is affecting your work performance, consider how an accommodation could help. For example, if your disability affects your ability to write or type quickly, your employer could provide speech-to-text software to make it easier to perform your duties. If your disability affects your sight or hearing, your employer can provide larger materials and sound amplifiers. You could also talk to your employer about a flexible schedule if that would improve your performance. Many accommodations are very simple but can make your job much more doable. If you feel that your disability is affecting your job performance, consider talking to your employer about possible accommodations that could help. 

Though work can be difficult, it should not feel overwhelming and unmanageable because of your disability. If you feel that your disability is affecting your work performance, consider talking to your employer and asking for accommodations that could lead to better productivity. Remember, you have rights and protections under the law, so you should not be discriminated against for your disability or accommodation requests.