ADA Protections for Patients

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal law that requires employers with 15 or more employees to make reasonable accommodations allowing qualified employees with disabilities to function properly on the job.

Under the ADA, a disability is defined as “a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities”.

Any individual with the disability can inform the employer that an accommodation is necessary at any point during their employment. Reasonable accommodations cannot be refused unless they cause undue hardship, difficulty or expense for the employer, and must be intended to help the employee do their job. Employers are not required to eliminate a fundamental duty of a position.

Some examples include:

    • Requesting modifications so that the workplace is accessible


    • Being able to leave for doctors’ appointments and/or to seek to recuperate from treatment


    • Being able to take periodic breaks in a private area to rest or take medication


  • Requesting a modified work schedule, shift change, or if possible, telecommute

If your FMLA leave expires, and you are not yet ready to return to work, you can consider asking for extended leave as a reasonable accommodation under the ADA.

The Federal Rehabilitation Act protects qualified individuals from discrimination based on their disability as outlined in the ADA. This law applies to employees of the federal government as well as to organizations and employers who receive financial assistance from any Federal department or agency.

Additional provisions for patients can be found at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission website

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