Employers generally only have to provide a reasonable accommodation when one is requested by a qualified individual with a disability. Individuals with disabilities may request a reasonable accommodation at any time during the employment process, including the application process. The request is generally a statement in plain English. It does not have to include the terms "ADA" or "reasonable accommodation". While the request does not have to be in writing, employers may prefer receiving something in writing to document the request. Family members, friends, and counselors may request an accommodation for an individual with a disability.
Once a request is made, the employer may want confirmation that the individual's medical condition meets the ADA's definition of disability. An employer is entitled to ask for medical documentation of the disability and its limitations if the disability is not obvious. If the medical condition does not meet the ADA's definition of disability, then a reasonable accommodation is not required.
After receiving the request for reasonable accommodation and verifying that the condition meets the definition of disability, usually the employer and the individual with the disability discuss possible reasonable accommodations to try to determine what accommodation might work best. During this conversation it is important for the individual with the disability to describe the problems posed by the workplace barrier.
If the employer does not receive sufficient information, an explanation as to what additional information is needed should be provided to the individual with the disability. The employer should limit requests for information to the disability in question.