visual impairment reasonable accommodations federal employees

Tackling your workday with a visual impairment may be challenging, but visual impairment accommodations for federal employees can shrink or eliminate that challenge.

Federal employees with visual impairments have rights against discrimination and a right to reasonable workplace accommodations through the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Rehabilitation Act).

Obtaining an accommodation often requires a discussion with your boss, and you might need to make suggestions about what accommodations would be best for you.

This process can be light work with the help of a seasoned federal reasonable accommodations attorney.

Pines Federal has significant experience with representing federal employees in disability cases, and we effectively help our clients receive visual impairment accommodations for federal employees. We focus solely on federal employment cases, and our advocacy is award-winning.

For assistance, please reach us online or call (800) 801-0598 today.

Is Visual Impairment a Disability Under the ADA?

In many cases, yes. There is no set list of disabilities under federal disability law. Whether your visual impairment is a disability depends on how the impairment affects (or has affected) your life. 

The ADA defines a person with a disability as: 

  • Someone who has a mental or physical impairment that limits a major life activity,
  • Someone who has a history of a mental or physical impairment that limits a major life activity, or
  • Someone who is perceived as having a mental or physical impairment that limits a major life activity.

Major life activities include seeing, walking, learning, and working, so virtually any visual impairment could be a disability under the law. Now that you have a basic understanding of what constitutes a disability, let’s discuss what types of visual impairments could require accommodation at the workplace.

Is needing glasses a disability? It can be, as well as many other visual needs. There are multiple conditions affecting sight that could warrant accommodation under the ADA and Rehabilitation Act. 

These conditions include:

  • Macular degeneration,
  • Diabetic retinopathy,
  • Cataracts,
  • Myopia,
  • Glaucoma,
  • Amblyopia,
  • Astigmatism,
  • Strabismus,
  • Color blindness, and
  • Presbyopia.

If you have one of the above conditions or any other condition that compromises your sight, you may have a right to request reasonable accommodations for your visual impairment.

Examples of Workplace Accommodations for Visual Impairment

If you are an employee or job applicant with a disability, you have the right to receive reasonable accommodations that give you an equal opportunity to work. You must ask for accommodation, and once you make your request, your employer must engage in an interactive process with you to determine your right to accommodation and what accommodation can have. Giving your employer suggestions for accommodations can move this process along and help you quickly receive workplace help.

Visual impairment reasonable accommodations for federal employees can include:

  • Workplace materials or equipment in large print or braille,
  • Glare reduction devices,
  • Changes in workplace lighting,
  • Modified break schedules,
  • Service animals,
  • Flicker-free monitors,
  • Smart glasses,
  • Workplace materials or equipment in different colors,
  • Magnifying devices,
  • Easy-to-detect warning surfaces,
  • Shift changes to daylight working hours,
  • Color vision correcting lenses,
  • Telework,
  • Audio recordings of written materials, and
  • Additional training.

The above are just a handful of accommodations you could receive. And you might have to provide your employer with documentation from a healthcare professional before obtaining accommodation. 

Talk to our knowledgeable attorneys for help determining the best accommodations for your unique needs. We have significant experience in representing federal employees and access to top healthcare professionals who can assist in the accommodation process.  

What If My Employer Denies My Request?

If you have a covered disability, your employer must accommodate you unless the accommodation would cause an undue hardship. An undue hardship is any circumstance that creates a significant cost or difficulty for your employer. Determining whether the accommodation you request is an undue hardship happens on a case-by-case basis. 

If your employer wrongfully denies you, you can ask it to reconsider your request. And if you cannot come to a resolution with your employer, you can file a charge with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). As a federal employee, you have 45 days to start the charge process with an EEO Counselor. We can handle this quick turnaround for you and ensure you have the evidence necessary to support your claim for relief. 

Pines Federal Can Be Your Best Support

Combined, we have more than 60 years of experience at Pines Federal. We have won large awards and settlements for many federal employees. And not only have we received top honors from the legal community, but we have also received top reviews from our clients. If you need help with a federal employment matter, please contact us online or call (800) 801-0598 today.