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Sarcoidosis (SAR-coy-DOH-sis) is an inflammatory disease characterized by granulomas (small rounded outgrowths made up of blood vessels, cells, and connective tissues) that can produce many different symptoms. It is generally a chronic disease, lasting for several years or a lifetime. Some people, however, may have a type that only lasts a few months.
Some people may have no symptoms; others may have symptoms that include: skin, lung, and eye problems; arthritis; myositis; fever; fatigue; and weight loss.
Sarcoidosis and the Americans with Disabilities Act
The ADA does not contain a definitive list of medical conditions that constitute disabilities. Instead, the ADA defines a person with a disability as someone who (1) has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more "major life activities," (2) has a record of such an impairment, or (3) is regarded as having such an impairment. For more information about how to determine whether a person has a disability under the ADA, see How to Determine Whether a Person Has a Disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA).
Accommodating Employees with Sarcoidosis
People with sarcoidosis may develop some of the limitations discussed below, but seldom develop all of them. Also, the degree of limitation will vary among individuals. Be aware that not all people who are aging will need accommodations to perform their jobs and many others may only need a few accommodations. The following is only a sample of the possibilities available. Numerous other accommodation solutions may exist.
Questions to Consider:
- What limitations is the employee experiencing?
- How do these limitations affect the employee and the employee’s job performance?
- What specific job tasks are problematic as a result of these limitations?
- What accommodations are available to reduce or eliminate these problems? Are all possible resources being used to determine possible accommodations?
- Once accommodations are in place, would it be useful to meet with the employee to evaluate the effectiveness of the accommodations and to determine whether additional accommodations are needed?
- Do supervisory personnel and employees need training?
Situations and Solutions:
The following situations and solutions are real-life examples of accommodations that were made by JAN customers. Because accommodations are made on a case-by-case basis, these examples may not be effective for every workplace but give you an idea about the types of accommodations that are possible.
An applicant for a data entry position has sarcoidosis and discloses that it causes her to have a painful sensitivity to light.
The employer agrees to make adjustments to her workspace by allowing the use of desk lamps and other lighting sources that afford a greater degree of individual control should the individual be hired for the position.
An applicant tells his prospective employer that he has to use public transportation to get around.
The individual discloses that he has sarcoidosis. The employer gives the new hire the flexibility use public transportation.
An applicant has bilateral facial paralysis due to their diagnosis of sarcoidosis.
This causes the applicant to have impaired speech and they are applying to work in a position that requires a great deal of communication with co-workers. The employer agrees to allow the individual to communicate with their co-workers electronically via e-mails, or via written messages during in-person meetings, if they are hired as an accommodation.
An employee with sarcoidosis has voiced concerns with the employer controlled parking lot where employees are allowed to park.
As the lot is set up on a first come first serve basis, the individual normally has to park very far away from the building when he arrives for his shift. Due to his sarcoidosis, the employee has limitations in breathing and quickly develops shortness of breath due to the walk to the building after parking in the morning. The employer agrees to provide the individual with a reserved parking space that was as close to the building as possible as an accommodation.
An employee with sarcoidosis has been having problems when needing to leave her workstation to use the copier due to her legs swelling when they are not elevated.
The employer provides the individual with a small copy machine for her workstation desk as an accommodation.