A person who experiences headaches and migraines may have difficulty concentrating and tolerating certain environmental conditions that can be triggers. As a result, individuals may have difficulty meeting performance and conduct standards.
Indoor air cleaning systems may help to reduce levels of allergens and pollutants in indoor air to create a cleaner, healthier work and home environment. There are a number of different types of air cleaners and filtration systems; HEPA, ULPA, carbon filter, electrostatic, electret, negative-ionizing, UV, and ozone generators. It's important to know the air cleaning needs for the situation when selecting an appropriate system. A word of caution is needed when choosing an air purifier. These are less effective in large areas and need to be designed for specific irritants. For example, certain air purifiers will not work for fragrances but will work for smoke. It's important to work with a vendor to make certain of what can be effective for the situation.
Alternative lighting, such as incandescent lighting and LED light fixtures provide adequate task light without harmful UV radiation. LED lights are becoming more widely available. Contact the following companies for information regarding these products:
Environmental Sound Machines / Tinnitus Maskers / White Noise Machines
Environmental sound machines, also known as sound conditioners, help block out extraneous noises that are often found to be distracting. They can also be used to reduce stress in the work environment. Devices can include those that create persistent masking sound to relieve stress from tinnitus and otherwise drown out unwanted sounds.
Employees who experience limitations in concentration may need a flexible schedule in order to work optimally during hours of increased attentiveness. Flexible schedules can also be used to have a period of mental rest in order to refocus and reorient into his/her work. Examples of a flexible schedule would be adjusting starting and ending times of the workday, combining regularly scheduled breaks to create one extended break or dividing large breaks into smaller segments, and allowing work to be completed during hours when the employee is most mentally alert.
Full Spectrum or Natural Lighting Products
Individuals who experience eye strain or fatigue may benefit from natural light. If it is not possible to situate the worker near a natural light source, alternative lighting may be an accommodation solution. Full Spectrum Lighting or Full Spectrum Light Filters (for covering fluorescent lighting) may reduce glare from overhead lights by simulating a natural light source and blocking ultraviolet rays. To learn more about this type of lighting and to select an appropriate lighting source for the situation, please contact the following vendors and manufacturers.
Job restructuring is a form of reasonable accommodation which enables many qualified individuals with disabilities to perform jobs effectively. Job restructuring as a reasonable accommodation may involve reallocating or redistributing the marginal functions of a job. However, an employer is not required to reallocate essential functions of a job as a reasonable accommodation. Essential functions, by definition, are those that a qualified individual must perform, with or without an accommodation.
An employer may exchange marginal functions of a job that cannot be performed by a person with a disability for marginal job functions performed by one or more other employees.
Although an employer is not required to reallocate essential job functions, it may be a reasonable accommodation to modify the essential functions of a job by changing when or how they are done.
Lighting Gel Filters
Lighting gel filters can be used with overhead fluorescent bulbs to provide a softer diffused light source. They are available in a full spectrum of colors and in various degrees of diffusion.
The modification and/or removal of marginal functions from a position is an example of a reasonable accommodation. Essential functions are those job duties that an employee must be able to perform, with or without reasonable accommodation.
From The ADA: Your Responsibilities as an Employer by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission -
Factors to consider in determining if a function is essential include:
whether the reason the position exists is to perform that function,
the number of other employees available to perform the function or among whom the performance of the function can be distributed, and
the degree of expertise or skill required to perform the function.
Your judgment as to which functions are essential, and a written job description prepared before advertising or interviewing for a job will be considered by EEOC as evidence of essential functions. Other kinds of evidence that EEOC will consider include:
the actual work experience of present or past employees in the job,
the time spent performing a function,
the consequences of not requiring that an employee perform a function, and
the terms of a collective bargaining agreement.
Modified Break Schedule
Some employees can benefit from taking their breaks at a different rate than what may be considered standard by their employer to accomodate certain conditions, symptoms and habits they have in order to perform their job at their optimal level.
Incandescent or non-fluorescent lighting is generally considered to be more natural lighting that provides consistent light levels and enables users with light sensitivity to work more productively in some industrial and office settings.
Telework, within certain fields, can be an excellent alternative for employees who have conditions that make it difficult for them to leave their home or reliably travel to a place of work. Employers should consider if a job can be made compatible with telework for their employees and communicate their expectations and requirement for the job to be performed out of home. Allowing work from home during worksite or office construction; extremely hot, cold, or inclement weather; or parking renovations could be a reasonable accommodation.