Workplace accommodations for lupus

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You’ve been having increasing problems with your health, but the lupus diagnosis you were handed threw you for a loop. That’s when you realized that there was going to be no quick fix for your condition.

With any chronic condition, it can be difficult to keep working without adjustments — but you probably have a right to ask your employer to make any reasonable accommodations you need.

So, what kind of accommodations in the workplace can help when you have lupus? Even small changes can often make it easier for you to keep working. Consider these:

  • A modified work schedule: Lupus fatigue can be crushing. You may need a flexible schedule, a later start time, longer breaks or shorter hours. It may also be possible to cut back from full-time work to part-time work.
  • A change in how you do your job: Some lupus patients need special equipment to operate their computer, memory aids or adaptive equipment like a special chair or an extra stool so that they can sit while working. If your job permits it, you may even be able to work remotely.
  • Environmental adjustments: People with lupus can suffer from extraordinary light-sensitivity and problems with “brain fog,” so you may benefit from adjustments to the lighting above your desk, an office that isn’t directly opposite a window or a workspace that’s removed from high-traffic areas.
  • Mobility accommodations: You may need a closer parking space or ask to use an electric scooter or wheelchair at work. You may also need to transition to a job that is less physically intensive.

Employers aren’t required to agree to accommodations that are unduly burdensome. If you believe that your requests are reasonable, however, and your employer has balked at accommodations without justification, it may be time to take your case to an attorney.