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Workplace accommodations for people with ADHD

Attention-deficit/ hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common and, in some ways, debilitating disability afflicting people in New York and across the country. It can cause reading comprehension and executive management issues. In some instances, these issues can greatly impact a person’s job performance. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) can provide limited relief for some of these issues. However, ADA protections are by no means a blank slate to provide people with everything they may want from an employer.


The ADA protects people with a disability and allows them to make reasonable requests from their employers to perform their jobs. With ADHD, protections are often extended for completing tasks and managing different aspects of their jobs. According to employment law, a person with ADHD may be given certain tasks that fit their limitations. They may be given some allowances as to the completion of tasks and their inability to remain still for long periods of time.

But one of the most common ADHD protections has to do with medication. People with ADHD must be allowed to take prescribed drugs that may otherwise cause them to fail drug tests. They may also receive allowances if they are unable to obtain their medication because of a national shortage.


The limitations of ADA protections for people with ADHD stem from the ideas of “reasonable accommodations” and “essential job functions.” An employer is obligated to provide reasonable accommodations to an employee. They do not, however, have to give these accommodations when an employee is unable to perform essential job functions.

The employer is not obligated to do the job for the employee. If the essential nature of a job involves actions that a person with ADHD cannot perform, their ability for redress may be limited. People with ADHD may find it helpful to keep an open line of communication between their employers and physicians regarding which accommodations are or are not helpful for their disability.