Inflammatory Bowel Disease May Result In Reasonable Accommodations

According to the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA), there will be an estimated 1.6 million new cases of inflammatory bowel disease diagnosed in the United States this year. Inflammatory bowel disease is an umbrella term that refers to intestinal disorders that cause prolonged inflammation that result in anemia, ulcers, diarrhea, bowel obstructions, colon cancer, fistulas, and malnutrition.

The American with Disabilities Act (ADA), prohibits discrimination against individuals with a qualified disability. The ADA applies to employers with 15 or more employees.  Federal employees are afforded protections under the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC). In addition, the New York Human Rights Law (NYHRL) provides, “It shall be an unlawful discriminatory practice for an employer to refuse to provide reasonable accommodations to the known disabilities of an employee.” (Executive Law 296(3).)

Depending on severity, an employer may be required to afford an employee with inflammatory bowel disease reasonable accommodations so that he or she may enjoy equal employment opportunities, unless it would cause significant expense or difficulty to the employer. Most employees with inflammatory bowel disease do not require costly accommodations that create undue hardship. Most employees with inflammatory bowel disease need accommodations, due to the following:

  • Side effects from treatments or medications;
  • Persistent bathroom use;
  • Fatigue due to nutritional problems;
  • Time off for a procedure; and
  • Recovery time for a surgery, among others.Reasonable accommodations include the following:
  • Resting breaks;
  • Additional break to eat or take supplements;
  • Authorization to work from home;
  • Leave early or come in late for a doctor’s visit;
  • Provide bathroom wipes in the stalls;
  • Restructure the position; and
  • Private bathroom, among others.

If you have faced discrimination due to inflammatory bowel disease or other severe disability and are not receiving proper accommodations from an employer, contact an experienced New York employment lawyer, who can ensure that your rights are protected. Call Steven Mitchell Sack, The Employees Lawyer™ at (917) 371-8000 or email him at for a consultation.

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