Job Seeker Question of the Month: September 2019

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“What accommodations should I request if I have chronic pain?”

The employer’s primary concern is your ability to stay productive. Request accommodations that limit pain triggers. For example, you can request a more ergonomically designed work space. If you get migraines, request a change of lighting or a scent-free office.

If you have moments of pain that pass relatively quickly, request a quite space you can go to while you wait for the pain to pass. If the pain will last a few hours, ask for things like flex time. It’s easier for the employer to provide this if you can give them a rough estimate of how frequently you’ll have to leave.

Of course, if chronic pain is such an issue that you don’t know day-to-day what you will and won’t be able to do, you might have to consider other options for employment. Opportunities for remote work are starting to increase, but most employers are still reluctant to embrace them.

Many people are turning to entrepreneurship. If you’re particularly skilled, you could create a consulting business. There are many resources and grants available to help people with disabilities build their own businesses.

In the end, what you request from your employer is going to depend a great deal on how your chronic pain manifests and what the employer is able to provide.

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