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ADHD & Your Legal Rights in the Workplace

If your company has 15 or more employees, you have a right to reasonable accommodations in the workplace under the American with Disabilities Act (ADA). Even if your company has less than 15 employees, some states will still have protections for people with disabilities, you’ll just have to check. The article link above goes into more detail about it. Of course, if you want to discuss an accommodation you have in mind with your boss, you would need to disclose that you do have ADD.

I am the bookkeeper, HR manager, marketing manager, backup dispatcher, AND receptionist for an air conditioning company in Texas. I sit at the reception desk in the middle of all the hustle and bustle. I have to help customers who come into the office, I have to answer the phone, and I have to dispatch service calls when the service dispatcher is out (she gets 3 weeks of vacation every year) or when she is already helping another customer on another phone line. To top it off, the warehouse guy has an office space behind me in the file room so he can register warranties and order parts and materials and he is constantly up and down going to the warehouse and coming back in. The door to the warehouse is about 30 feet behind me and for some reason, the warehouse guy doesn’t pick up his feet when he walks. Also, the only thing that separates my work area with the only bathroom downstairs is a supply closet and when you use the bathroom, everyone who is downstairs can hear you. In other words, every time someone uses the bathroom, I can hear everything! With all those distractions I still have to do the bookkeeping, HR management, and marketing. Most days are a total nightmare.

Thankfully my boss is my dad. I have two computer screens so it really helps me to put an earbud in one ear and have some boring doc on Netflix going in the corner of one screen while I do my work on the other screen that is directly in front of me and also still have one ear open to listen for the phones. This was an issue at first because everyone walking around in the office can see my computer and what I’m doing and I got in trouble for “watching movies” when I’m supposed to be working. I had to explain to my dad that just because you see Bob Ross painting on one of my computer screens, it doesn’t mean I’m watching or paying attention to it. It’s just there so I don’t focus on all of those other noises that I hear all day. I had to help him understand that unless I do have that movie or show going on in the background, I actually can’t do my work. After I opened up to him about how this is so difficult for me, he allowed me to continue. Now that everyone sees that I am getting my work done and I am meeting my deadlines and I continue to keep myself organized, no one has an issue with it.

I’m not suggesting you try Netflix to stay focused, you already said that you can’t listen to music and work. All I’m saying is maybe you should open up to your boss and either ask them for an accommodation you already have in mind or come up with something together that’s not an undue hardship on the company but is reasonable enough to do. The bottom line is they can’t fire you for not getting your work done if you’ve disclosed your disability and asked for help, so if they can find a way to accommodate you, your work will improve and that only benefits the company.