If you are someone who struggles with debilitating migraines, you’re not alone. There are millions of people who deal with migraines and their triggers each and every day. Many of them work full-time jobs, but triggers there could lead to serious headaches, time off work and a loss of productivity.
Employees with migraines may be protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act if their episodes are completely debilitating to the point of being unable to work. In those cases, it may be time to ask an employer for reasonable accommodations to help avoid the triggers that affect them in the workplace.
What are some reasonable accommodations for employees with severe migraines?
If you have migraines, start by speaking with your employer about the triggers you have and what you think would help. For example, if one of your coworkers wears extremely heavy perfume that triggers your headaches, it is reasonable for you to ask the employer about limiting fragrances in the workplace or moving yourself or the other employee to reduce contact.
If your employer is open to minor changes, then you may find that it’s simple to stay on the job. Something as simple as moving one person’s cubicle or giving someone with a migraine an extra break to make sure they eat on time could be extremely helpful and not affect the workday at all.
Another thing to discuss with your employer is flexibility. Ask them if they would be willing to be flexible with your schedule if you worked a make-up day when you missed one due to a migraine or if you worked from home instead of the office while recovering. Migraines are unpredictable, so a traditional schedule isn’t always going to work.
Finally, discuss escape options. If a migraine does start at work, what can you do to get away from it? Make sure they’re willing to help you find a dark, quiet place to rest, for example, until the migraine is controlled.
It’s reasonable to ask for simple accommodations like these. If an employer will not or cannot offer them, you may want to discuss your situation with your attorney to find out if your employer is doing enough for you.