Employment Accommodation Letter | Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation

Employment Accommodation Letter

Template letter to request employer accommodations including office placement located near a bathroom; allowed to start work an hour later each day; other accommodations. Letter may be given to healthcare provider to complete and provide specific needs for the employee. Letter is then provided to the patient's employer.





RE:      Employee                                            ID #

Dear [Employer]:

I am writing at the request of your employee, [name], who suffers from [Crohn’s disease/ulcerative colitis].  I have reviewed [name’s] job description with him, and am writing to support his request for reasonable accommodation.

[Crohn’s disease/ulcerative colitis] are forms of inflammatory bowel disease.  They result in frequent, urgent diarrhea, fatigue, joint pain [add other relevant symptoms].  The vast majority of my patients with inflammatory bowel disease work, although some, like [name], do require reasonable accommodations in order to do so.

As you know, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires an employer to make reasonable accommodations for an employee who is disabled.  A person is disabled under the ADA if he or she is substantially limited in performance of a major life activity.  Even before the 2008 amendments to the ADA, courts had recognized digestion and disposal of bodily waste as major life activities.  The 2008 amendments made this even clearer, stipulating that bodily functions such as digestion and bowel are major life activities.  In September 2008, Congress passed the ADA Amendment Act of 2008.  It contains the following provisions:

  • Courts must interpret the ADA more broadly than they have been doing. 
  • The phrase “major life activity” includes, but is not limited to, caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and working. 
  • The  phrase “major life activity” also includes operation of “major bodily function, including but not limited to, functions of the immune system, normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, and reproductive functions.”
  • An impairment that is episodic or in remission is a disability if it would substantially limit a major life activity when active.
  • The question of whether an impairment is disabling must be made without regard to whether medication, equipment, prosthetics, assistive technology, or other treatment, devices, and supplies improves the impairment, although eyeglasses still are considered for determining the severity of a vision impairment.
  • In addition, the 2008 amendments state that an episodic illness that is disabling when active is disabling when in remission.  Thus, after these amendments, which took effect on January 1, 2009, there can be no question that [Crohn’s disease/ulcerative colitis] is a disability under the ADA.

I understand that the essential functions of [name’s] job are _____________________, _________________,  and __________________.  However, [name] can perform these essential functions if he is [located near a bathroom; allowed to start work an hour later each day; other accommodation].  Since [name] can perform the essential functions of his job with these accommodations, [name’s] request for these accommodations should be granted.

Of course, if I can provide you with any additional information, please do not hesitate to contact me. 


Doctor XXX

For further information, call Crohn's & Colitis Foundation's IBD Help Center: 888.MY.GUT.PAIN (888.694.8872).

The Crohn's & Colitis Foundation provides information for educational purposes only. We encourage you to review this educational material with your health care professional. The Foundation does not provide medical or other health care opinions or services. The inclusion of another organization's resources or referral to another organization does not represent an endorsement of a particular individual, group, company or product.

About this resource

Published: May 1, 2012

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