Request For Ergonomic Back Cushion

I just had an employee ask if we would pay for an Ergonomic back cushion for her to use at work.  Right now we are trying to save money and really don't see a need to have the company buy this for her.  Please let me know if I am in the wrong about this.  Thanks!

Comments

  • 6 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • Why does the employee want the back cushion?  It's possible that you've got an ADA issue here--in which case it would not be a good idea to reject her request, unless you can show undue hardship--which is a pretty high standard.
  • I didn't ask her why she wanted it.  Let me see what I can find out.
  • ADA may require a reasonable accommodation.  The employee has obviously asked for one. Since the employee's condition isn't obvious to you, the next step is to determine whether the condition is a disability under ADA (you can ask for documentation of the existence of a disability and why a reasonable accommodation is needed). If it is and the employee is qualified you would be required to provide a reasonable accommodation because an ergonomic back cushion wouldn't qualify as an undue hardship. ADA was recently revised so make sure your information on the law is up to date.  More impairments qualify as a disability under the revised ADA.
  • I have asked her why she is requesting it and here is her response:

    "It would promote proper posture and I was told by my chiropractor a while ago that it would help with back aches when I hurt my back and hip last year.  The orthopedic doctor's therapist also said maintaining proper posture would help my neck and shoulder (she had a WC shoulder injury last year), less pressure on it.  I thought my seat could be adjusted but it can't."

  • [quote user="HRFLDist"]

    I have asked her why she is requesting it and here is her response:

    "It would promote proper posture and I was told by my chiropractor a while ago that it would help with back aches when I hurt my back and hip last year.  The orthopedic doctor's therapist also said maintaining proper posture would help my neck and shoulder (she had a WC shoulder injury last year), less pressure on it.  I thought my seat could be adjusted but it can't."

    [/quote]

    Even a cadillac lumbar pillow is under $100.  Seems like a cheap solution.  The only question is who has to pay for it.  How much HR time will it take to resolve that question?  Convert to dollars, consider the risk of a snowball effect of people with WC history coming to you for their pillow, and determine if it's worth doing the full bore ADA talk to try to get out of it or if you just buy her the pillow.

  • Thanks so much for all of the advice!

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