Only in America

July 8, 2014

Americans enjoy many benefits that are not so available in some other countries. We are entitled to freedoms that are not so available in some other countries. However, most of us forget that besides being a free, democratic country, the United States is a capitalist country, and that is sometimes what takes precedent in the execution of the benefit. For instance, under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) people with MS have the right to request and receive reasonable accommodations to help them perform their job functions. To receive these accommodations, the employee must document the fact that he or she has a condition that falls under the purview of the ADA and then detail the accommodation needed; the forms must be filled out by the employee and the employee’s doctor, complete with amount of time it will be needed.

This can sometimes cause mental anguish for the employee. After all, it is sometimes difficult to admit to ourselves that we need help, never mind putting it in writing and discussing it with the doctor so he can detail everything. Once this is all done, you have to hand it over to the human resource department, so several people now know that you are not as capable as you used to be without extra assistance. That done, you would think that, since MS is an incurable disease, it is understood that this process doesn’t have to be repeated because your doctor stated clearly that this is a lifetime condition.

Sorry, no. The ADA affords companies the right to ask for a yearly update/renewal of all the paperwork, including the doctor’s statements and your requests before they will continue to provide the accommodation for you. So, if you are in need of anything that requires paperwork or any other steps, be ready to do everything more than once throughout the year. I am letting everyone know this because I realize that while all Americans know that we have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. However, not everyone is aware that that pursuit can be littered with hoops to jump through and hurdles to clear.

These are the opinions of Debby Nowicki only and do not reflect those of the IEEE or any other organization or individual.

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