If you are seeking a diagnosis or have recently been diagnosed with POTS, you may be grappling with accepting your new status as a person with a disability. That label may come as a relief if you’ve been trying to figure out what’s going on with your body for a while, as many POTS patients have. But that label also comes with important protections for you as an employee.
Not all individuals with POTS are able to work; this disorder affects people in various degrees, from being mildly intrusive to completely debilitating. If you are able to work, it’s important to know your rights under the law so that you can continue to seek treatment and manage your symptoms in order to continue working if you choose to do so.
The Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA, protects working individuals with disabilities from being demoted, fired, harassed, or otherwise mistreated based on the fact that they have a medical condition or disability. This includes being protected from those adverse actions even if you have to miss work for medical appointments, need special accommodations to do your job, or need more frequent breaks than other employees.
Under the law, your employer is required to make accommodations for your to do your job as long as they do not cause them undue hardship. Examples of accommodations for POTS could include:
- Being allowed time off
- A greater amount of breaks
- lighting adjustments
- Temperature adjustments
- Access to food, liquids or medicines
- Ergonomic seating
- Additional time to complete tasks
- Dress code adjustments
You may notice the language in the ADA is pretty vague. You can’t go to your employer and demand a specific accommodation. They may work with you to find a solution that works for you both, and if they have a solution that works, you have to agree to it. They are not required to provide the accommodation, and they aren’t required to create a position to fit your needs.
It’s very hard to prove that you’ve been discriminated against in the hiring process, so if you have a POTS diagnosis, it could be wise to advise your employer after you’ve been hired. If you’ve been diagnosed during your tenure with an employer, you get to decide when and if to tell anyone about your condition.
The POTS and Dysautonomia Treatment Center offers patients collaborative, alternative care aimed at treating the whole person, not just the disorder. Our team consists of a psychophysiologist, an internal medicine doctor, clinical health psychologist, and a registered dietitian who work with you to provide compassionate care through a full range of services.
Our treatment options include onsite intensives in Dallas, as well as online options you can complete anywhere. Are you ready to take control of your symptoms? Read more about our treatment options.