The Unaccommodating Accommodation Process

I recently posted about how lawyers and policy makers need to do more to incorporate mental health concerns into public policy. Based on the feedback I got from that, I want to start incorporating more policy discussions here. Starting with a personal observation.

I am in the process of seeking a reasonable accommodation to work from home three days a week because of my anxiety disorder. The documentation has all been submitted, the forms all filled out, and now I am just waiting, unable to start this plan until formally approved by HR.

And I get that they have to do their due diligence. As a lawyer, I understand their need to protect themselves. Yet, as a lawyer, I also know that they have zero grounds to deny this request, and I believe they’re smart enough to also know that too. And yet, in the meantime, as I said, I am just waiting. A process that is actually causing me more anxiety as I worry about when the approval will come through. And that is kind of the opposite of what I am going for.

Which brings me to my policy discussion. As I said, they have every right to take their time and do their due diligence in reviewing my request. Yet, I can’t see any reason why someone requesting a reasonable accommodation shouldn’t be granted a temporary accommodation, if possible, while the request is pending. This is especially true where the request doesn’t cost the company anything, as is the case with my request. Doing so for all disabilities that seek reasonable accommodations would bring the law closer to its goal of protecting the health of those with disabilities while allowing them to lead full and productive lives. Unfortunately, I and others who are seeking valid accommodations, are forced to wait, often at our detriment, for the delays caused by HR going through their process. Which is very unaccommodating of this accommodation process.

 

If you would like to learn more about seeking an accommodation for yourself, click here.

P.S. Spellcheck kept trying to change “accommodation” to “accomplishment,” and at first I was like, “no spellcheck, stop fucking it up, you’re being so damn unaccommodating right now!” Then I realized it actually kind of is an accomplishment that I am doing this because I am being my own advocate and putting my mental health needs first, something we should all strive for. Touché spellcheck, touché.

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