Employer Won’t Accommodate My Bad Back

If you have suffered a back injury, or if you have a chronic back condition, you may want to take leave from your employer. You may be protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA was enacted by Congress in 1990, it is a civil rights law to protect those who have disabilities.

It establishes requirements for the construction and/or altering of facilities subject to the laws. It also requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations so employees can work and earn a living. While the law requires employers to provide accommodations for disabled workers so they are able to work and earn a living, it is kind of subjective, so what is considered reasonable could vary greatly.

It may be hard to determine if the law is being violated or not. You should speak with human resources or a supervisor about your need for accommodations because of your bad back, and they should be able to explain what they are capable of providing.

You should maintain documentation to support your situation and to show what you have asked for and why you need these accommodations. Also document what you were told by your employer and why your request has not been fulfilled.

If you do not believe that your employer is accommodating your request as they should, tell them. You should also talk with an ADA attorney about the situation as they can offer extra input on the matter and tell you the best way to proceed.

How a Bad Back Can Be Difficult In the Workplace

If you have a bad back, it can affect you while you are trying to do your job. If you are suffering mobility issues and back pain, physical labor will be difficult.

While sitting or standing all day is commonplace with jobs, it can become difficult – even impossible – for those who suffer from a chronic back problem or injury. According to the ADA, you can ask for reasonable accommodations so you can stay on the job and continue earning a living.

In this situation, your request for reasonable accommodations may include being given a job that isn’t as physically demanding. If you have a job that isn’t as physically demanding, but it involves sitting for long periods, they can provide an ergonomic workstation. Other options may include additional unpaid medical leave for you to get the proper medical care and to tend to your condition.

You may also be given additional breaks from work to relieve the pressure and to help address the unbearable pain. Of course, the accommodations can vary significantly depending on your employer and your job duties. However, the ADA does offer protections to help ensure that you are treated fairly and are given equal opportunities despite your disability and limitations.


While the ADA is enforceable, you should take note that it does say reasonable accommodations. Not all companies can afford to offer the same accommodations or provide access to the same features and abilities. Companies are limited by money and time, and since the law says “reasonable” that is subjective, so it can be difficult as well as confusing.

You should sit down with a supervisor or with human resources to determine what is reasonable for your company. A larger employer with more employees and more money may be able to offer more accommodations than a small company that has fewer employees and that has much less in annual sales.

Speak With an Attorney

If you believe that your employer isn’t adhering to the ADA, and they are not accommodating your request although they have the resources to do so, you may want to speak with an employment law attorney. An employment law attorney is familiar with the ADA and other state and federal laws that apply to employees and employers as well as the workplace in general.

With the help of an attorney, you are much more likely to reach a resolution regarding the matter. An employment law attorney will know how to proceed and if the ADA has been violated. Your lawyer may be able to work to come up with a fair solution, ensuring that you are treated fairly and able to continue working and that your employer understands how the laws apply to them and what kinds of accommodations are reasonable for this specific situation. Complete the Free Case Evaluation Form on this page to share the details surrounding your request for accommodations from your employer because of your bad back.

Additional Resources