When you have a disability, you also have the legal right to reasonable accommodation for your disability. However, asking for accommodations can be confusing and even upsetting if you don’t know how. Fortunately, there’s a form for that. Our Reasonable Accommodation Request Form Template can help minimize the stress and difficulty of asking for what you need. Simply download the template, fill it out in MS Word or a similar compatible writing program, and submit it to your employer. We’ve broken it down for you in this article so you’ll have all the facts.
What Is a Reasonable Accommodation Request Form
A Reasonable Accommodation Request Form is a document used in employment or educational settings to request fair accommodations for individuals with disabilities formally. This helpful document allows individuals to outline their specific needs and request adjustments or modifications to enable them to effectively perform their job or fulfill their educational requirements. It is a simple way to initiate the interactive process between the requester and the relevant institution or employer. You can easily make a formal, written, and documented request for reasonable accommodations using this form.
Why Is a Reasonable Accommodation Request Form Important?
A Reasonable Accommodation Request Form is crucial in facilitating the accommodation process. By providing a standardized and formal means of communication, this document helps people work or learn in a way that allows them access to everything they need. Here are the reasons why this form is important:
- Clarity and Accuracy: The reasonable accommodation request form ensures that individuals clearly communicate their accommodation needs. It has space to include specific details, essential requirements, and necessary supporting documentation.
- Establishes a Formal Request: Submitting a request form lets individuals signal their intent to seek reasonable, legally protected accommodations and initiate conversations with the employer or educational institution.
- Documentation: This document is a formal record of the accommodation request, preserving important details for future reference or legal purposes.
- Consistency and Fairness: Using standardized forms ensures that all requests are treated equally. This helps employers and educational facilities avoid potential bias and inconsistent decision-making.
- Efficiency: Having a structured format streamlines the accommodation process. This lets the employer or educational institution assess, review, and respond to requests efficiently.
- Legal Compliance: A reasonable accommodation request form helps organizations adhere to legal obligations under disability discrimination laws. The right to reasonable accommodations is protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
- Confidentiality: This document can include provisions to protect the confidentiality of the information provided. Ensuring privacy for the individual making the accommodation request is vital, especially for medical accommodations as they include protected information about the requester.
Pro Tip: To enhance the effectiveness of a Reasonable Accommodation Request Form, provide specific instructions and prompts in each section.
Essential Elements of a Reasonable Accommodation Request Form
The essential elements of a reasonable accommodation request form include private information about the requester’s disability and needs. It also details their specific needs. Below is a helpful list outlining the different sections typically included in a Reasonable Accommodation Request Form:
- Form Title: Professional forms begin with a clear title, such as “Reasonable Accommodation Request Form” or “Accommodation Request Application,” to show the purpose at a glance.
- Personal Information: This section collects the requester’s personal details, including their full name, contact information, employee or student identification number, and other relevant identifying information so the recipient can identify who is asking.
- Type of Accommodation Requested: The requester indicates the type of accommodation they seek. For example, this may include modifications to the physical environment, changes in their work schedule, or adjustments to the curriculum or assessments.
- Relevant Details of Disability: This section allows the requester to provide information about their disability or medical condition that necessitates the accommodation. It normally includes details about the nature of the disability, functional limitations, and medical documentation to show a legitimate need.
- Specific Accommodation Requested: The requester describes the specific accommodation they need in detail. It should include all the relevant details, like specific adjustments, equipment, or support services needed to perform job tasks or fulfill educational requirements.
- Additional Information: This area has space for any additional information the requester believes is relevant to their accommodation request. It is often used to explain how the requested accommodation would enable them to perform their job or succeed academically.
- Applicant’s Certification Statement with Signature and Date Lines: At the end of the request, the applicant certifies the accuracy and truthfulness of the information provided by signing and dating this section. The statement affirms their understanding that providing false information can have consequences.
- For Office Use Only Section: The bottom section is reserved for the organization’s use. It should have fields for who received the request, the date, when it was reviewed, tracking the progress of the request, documenting the decision or action taken, and when the requester was notified.
How to Write a Reasonable Accommodation Request Form
Writing an effective Reasonable Accommodation Request Form requires careful consideration. You may need to discuss your needs and what types of accommodation are reasonable with your health care provider before filling out your form. Here are some tips to make the form better:
- Use clear and concise language to ensure the form is understandable. Avoiding technical or medical jargon and complex terminology makes it easier to assess.
- Keep your tone formal throughout. This is a legal document and should be treated seriously.
- Explain the nature of the disability and functional limitations, and then suggest accommodations that are simple and helpful.
- Offer supporting documentation to verify your claims.
- When possible, set a reasonable timeframe for the organization’s response to the accommodation request.
- Always incorporate statements or provisions to assure individuals that their information will be kept confidential in compliance with privacy regulations.
- Customize the form to suit your specific needs or the recipient’s requirements.
- Take the time to edit before submitting.
- Keep a copy for your records.
Reasonable accommodations aim to provide equal opportunities for individuals with disabilities. However, there are limits to what qualifies as a reasonable accommodation. Here are some examples of what is not considered a reasonable accommodation:
Providing personal use items unrelated to the job or education, like hearing aids or wheelchairs for use outside of work or school-related activities.
Lowering essential job or education performance standards. These are necessary for effective job performance or academic success and should not be changed even if other aspects of the requirements are, like the timeframe to complete the work.
Any accommodation that creates a direct threat to the health or safety of others or causes undue hardship to the employer or educational institution is not reasonable. Asking for a ramp is fine, but requiring a lift on a narrow staircase that cannot be widened and must be utilized by many people would not necessarily be viable.
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), certain conditions or circumstances are not considered disabilities. Below are some common examples:
Temporary, non-chronic impairments with little or no long-term impact, like a minor illness or injury.
Illegal drug use or alcohol-related conditions are not generally protected under ADA.
Any conditions solely resulting from environmental, cultural, or economic factors, like personality traits or behaviors.
The Reasonable Accommodation Request Form is vital in promoting inclusivity and equal opportunities for people with disabilities. With a professional standardized form, organizations can effectively accept and process accommodation requests. Doing this ensures fair consideration and compliance with legal requirements. Employers and educational institutions need to approach these requests with sensitivity, maintaining open communication and fostering an inclusive environment for all employees and students while also keeping the private medical information on these forms stored securely.