Getting Workplace Accommodations

A workplace accommodation is any kind of change or adjustment to a job or workplace that makes it possible for a person with a disability to perform the essential functions of a job.

Some employers have well-established return-to-work practices or programs in place.  Smaller-sized employers may not have the experience with helping an injured employee return to work gradually and may need assistance from you and your doctor.

  • It is your right to ask your employer for workplace accommodations to help you return to work.
  • Whether you were burned on the job or not, employers are legally required under the Americans with Disabilities Act and many states’ laws to provide you with reasonable accommodations so you can return to work. What is a “reasonable accommodation”?
  • You are responsible for asking for your accommodations, but your employer may request supporting documentation.  In general, this discussion should be between the Human Resources officer and you, and not with your direct supervisor, although that may not be practical with smaller workplaces.
  • Request a letter from your doctor stating what work you are capable of doing at this point in your recovery. This letter should clearly describe the limitations that require accommodation (for example, fatigue or pain with over use) and the preferred accommodation (for example, rest breaks). The letter should also state how long your work limitations need to be in place. At each clinic appointment, ask your doctor for an updated letter that keeps your employer aware of your status. Make sure your company’s disability coordinator, HR contact, safety officer, and your supervisor have this information.
  • You may need a job analysis to help you and your health care provider make the decisions about what kinds of accommodations you will require.  A job analysis is like a detailed job description where each task is described, along with the physical and cognitive (mental) demands. A job analysis describes the parts of your job and what is needed for each part.
    See examples of different job analyses.
  • What kinds of workplace accommodations are there?
  • Many employers are willing to help out whether or not they are legally required to do so.
  • Some employers are not familiar with the laws that require job accommodations for people with burn injuries. You and your medical team may need to educate your employer about these issues.
    Learn about employers’ responsibilities.

Get help from your ADA center to learn what workplace accommodations you are allowed to request.