Workplace accommodations are an important part of equal-opportunity employment for those with ADHD. Many types of support are available to help you do your best at work.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a mental health condition that affects roughly
ADHD can have a significant impact on your day-to-day life, which is why it’s considered a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Under the ADA, people with ADHD can request workplace accommodations to help them successfully perform their job duties.
Below, we’ll share more about what workplace accommodations for ADHD might look like and how to request them at work.
If you have ADHD and your condition is making it difficult to perform your duties at work, you may be entitled to certain workplace accommodations. But before you request these accommodations, it’s helpful to understand exactly what’s covered under the ADA.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, reasonable accommodations at work can include adjustments to the job process, work environment changes, or other equitable changes in the workplace. These accommodations aren’t one-size-fits-all ― instead, they should meet the individual needs of each disabled person who requests them.
For someone with ADHD, here are some examples of what reasonable accommodations might look like at work:
- having a dedicated quiet workspace to work from
- using noise-canceling headphones in loud work areas
- taking more frequent short breaks instead of longer ones
- using calendars, timers, and other time management tools
- having job duties split into smaller tasks with shorter deadlines
- extending deadlines for larger or more difficult tasks
- working some shifts from home or during different work hours
- working alongside a monitor or mentor for accountability
- discussing expectations and performance with bosses more often
Although every employee with a disability is entitled to reasonable accommodations at work, there are limits. An accommodation should not be overly disruptive or impactful to the business or cause the employer “undue hardship.”
Even if you have ADHD, you may find that you don’t need any accommodations at work to successfully perform your job duties. In this case, unless you already disclosed your condition during the job offer process, you’re under no obligation to let your boss know that you have ADHD.
However, when you request reasonable accommodations at work, you’ll need to disclose that you have a disability.
When you’re disclosing your disability, it’s not always necessary or even recommended to share any more details about your condition than you need to. Some states even allow you to use general phrasing to describe your condition when asking for accommodations if you don’t want to share your full diagnosis.
Can an employer fire you for having ADHD?
Under the ADA, it’s illegal for an employer to fire you simply because you have ADHD.
However, even if you have ADHD, an employer can fire you if there’s a legitimate reason. For example, you can be let go from a job if you’re not able to meet the job requirements with or without accommodations or if your disability poses a threat to the health and safety of yourself or others at work.
Once you’re ready to request accommodations for ADHD at work, here’s a quick overview of what the process generally looks like:
- Before your workplace can start the reasonable accommodations process, you’ll have to disclose that you have a disability and that your disability is affecting your work.
- Once you’ve disclosed this information, your employer will want to discuss more about your difficulties at work and what the accommodations process looks like in your workplace.
- During this process, you may need to provide more information, such as documentation from a healthcare professional stating that you have a disability. Learn more about getting an ADHD diagnosis as an adult.
- You and your employer will decide which accommodations work best for you and implement them in the workplace, making sure to communicate and adjust wherever necessary.
One important thing to note about reasonable accommodations under the ADA is that the law applies only to companies with 15 or more employees. But even if your job doesn’t meet this requirement, it can be helpful to reach out to your boss about potential workplace accommodations.
If you feel you may need support when setting up accommodations for a disability, you can reach out to a workplace advocate.
ADHD affects each person differently, and for some adults in the workplace, this condition can make it challenging to stay on top of work tasks. Workplace accommodations not only help employees with ADHD and other disabilities successfully perform their duties but also offer disabled people equal opportunity employment.
If you’re considering requesting reasonable accommodations at work because of your ADHD, consider reaching out to a supervisor, manager, or human resources professional. Together, you can find out which accommodations help you function at your best at work.