American Disability Act of 1991

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Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2009
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   Posted 3/31/2009 8:58 PM (GMT -6)   
     Are people who suffer from fibromyalgia covered under this American with Disability Act?
Thank you for the information

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Date Joined Jun 2006
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   Posted 3/31/2009 9:56 PM (GMT -6)   
Yes, both fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome are covered by the American Disabilities Act.


Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 28
   Posted 3/31/2009 10:38 PM (GMT -6)   
ok, please expand on this. I've been denied twice for disability and my fybro has me physically disabled even though my mind is in fairly great shape besides memory loss issues and stress...

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Date Joined Jan 2005
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   Posted 3/31/2009 11:04 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Stari!

And welcome! Yes, fibro is covered with some "qualifications". Fibro is a collection of symptoms with no known cause as yet and it does make it difficult to get help. It is recognized by the NIH (National Institute of Health) They do speak specifically about Fibro and the research going on.

As to the ADA, fibromyalgia specifically is not listed as a qualifying disorder but you are covered if you meet the requirements of 'Disabled". Instead of making a huge list of illnesses they list the qualification for being "Disabled". Once you are classified as "Disabled", then you are covered. I found several sites with information. See if this answers your question. I am glad you brought this up as so many people are not treated with respect with an "invisible disorder".



The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was designed to help people with disabilities find jobs or keep their current jobs. Under the ADA, employers with 15 or more employees are required to provide reasonable accommodations for you if you meet the criteria of being disabled and doing so does not place an undue hardship on the company.

Are You Disabled?

Having fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome does not automatically mean that you are disabled. In order to qualify under the ADA, you must meet the ADA criteria of disabled. In order to be considered disabled, an individual must:

1. have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of such individual,
2. have a record of such an impairment, or
3. be regarded as having such an impairment.

The major life activities include, but are not limited to: seeing, hearing, learning, breathing, walking, working and caring for oneself.

Reasonable Accommodation

If you meet the criteria for being disabled, your next step is to determine whether there is a reasonable accommodation that could be made to your job that would allow you to continue working. A reasonable accommodation is basically any change in the work environment or in the way things are usually done that would enable the disabled individual to have equal employment opportunities.

You can request any accommodation that is considered "reasonable." Here are some examples of reasonable

this one has information also....
Co-Moderator Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Forums
Fibromyalgia, Ulcerative Colitis, Insulin dependent diabetic, PTSD, dermatitis herpetiformus, osteoarthritis and a few other side dishes.
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Date Joined Mar 2009
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   Posted 3/31/2009 11:20 PM (GMT -6)   
I'm attempting to write a novel that I will get published as a source of income.

Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 235
   Posted 4/1/2009 6:05 PM (GMT -6)   
Thank you to everyone for answering my post.  I guess I am alittle worried that if I continue to miss days of work because of the fibro my boss would have grounds to fire me.
Thank you for having this forum here, I am learning about fibro now I wish it would just go away.

Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 48
   Posted 4/1/2009 9:51 PM (GMT -6)   
I am an elementary teacher and I recently dealt with some similar issues at work. I received several warnings about being late during the week of daylight savings time and having an unprofessional demeanor about a situation that I just got way too emotional about. I already noticed several instances of favoritism from my principal and I think she was trying to document everything so she could get rid of me. I finally made the decision to send my administrators an e-mail asking to be recognized under the ADA and outlining some necessary accommodations. Within a week I was called into a meeting with our risk management guy and they went over my letter word for word and agreed to certain accommodations. Since then, things have been much better. My boss is bending over backwards to keep me "happy" where she wouldn't even call me by my name before. Sorry for the long rant, but if you are open with your condition and symptoms and its limitations, they have to provide "reasonable accommodations".

Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 235
   Posted 4/2/2009 6:28 PM (GMT -6)   
What a relief I feel about reading your reply.  I am a sped teacher at a elementary school and have missed one whole week and at least one day a month this year.  What were the accommodations that you asked for?
Thank you

Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 48
   Posted 4/2/2009 9:06 PM (GMT -6)   
This is a copy of the letter I sent (it was a bit long-winded, but I had a lot to say)

To Whom It May Concern:
The purpose of this letter is to identify myself as a person with a disability. I have been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, a chronic pain syndrome (see links below). I am requesting accommodations under the ADA. Due to my medical condition, the following job tasks/situations have proven to be problematic: Standing or sitting still for periods of time longer than 15 minutes, excessive walking, bending, or lifting, adhering to the set work schedule, managing excess stress such as interruptions in daily routines and last minute job tasks, working without adequate rest periods/bathroom breaks, concentrating on a task with excess background noise or other distractions, verbal expression, attending school functions/meetings in addition to the regular work day, maintaining energy throughout the day, completing required paperwork/projects in the time currently allotted for planning, public speaking, remembering tasks, The following is a list of possible accommodation ideas specific to these areas: flexible scheduling for arrival and dismissal periods (allow minutes tardy to work to be made up by staying later or working from home on lesson planning), allow duty posts closer to my classroom, use of a chair or stool whenever necessary, supply a paraprofessional to help with preparation of materials and/or project displays, provide at least 2 week’s written notice of any perceived schedule interruptions and/or special programs/activities and the actual revised schedule of such events, allow for a five minute break between each class for bathroom and or rest time, turn down the intercom in my classroom during planning times to reduce interference with cognitive functioning, use e-mail for communication to provide a detailed written record of any pertinent information/requests, absence from PTA meetings and/or other after school events contingent upon replacing them with time working on discipline committee or other job-related duties at home.
Due to the unpredictable nature of Fibromyalgia, it may be necessary to include any of the following accommodations when necessary (Fibromyalgia accommodation list:
Accommodation Ideas:
Concentration Issues:
• Provide written job instructions when possible
• Prioritize job assignments and provide more structure
• Allow flexible work hours and allow a self-pace workload
• Allow periodic rest periods to reorient
• Provide memory aids, such as schedulers or organizers
• Minimize distractions
• Reduce job stress
Depression and Anxiety:
• Reduce distractions in work environment
• Provide to-do lists and written instructions
• Remind employee of important deadlines and meetings
• Allow time off for counseling
• Provide clear expectations of responsibilities and consequences
• Provide sensitivity training to co-workers
• Allow breaks to use stress management techniques
• Develop strategies to deal with work problems before they arise
• Allow telephone calls during work hours to doctors and others for support
• Provide information on counseling and employee assistance programs
• Reduce or eliminate physical exertion and workplace stress
• Schedule periodic rest breaks away from the workstation
• Allow a flexible work schedule and flexible use of leave time
• Allow work from home
• Implement ergonomic workstation design
Fine Motor Impairment:
• Implement ergonomic workstation design
• Provide alternative computer access
• Provide alternative telephone access
• Provide arm supports
• Provide writing and grip aids
• Provide a page turner and a book holder
• Provide a note taker
Gross Motor Impairment:
• Modify the work-site to make it accessible
• Provide parking close to the work-site
• Provide an accessible entrance
• Install automatic door openers
• Move workstation close to other work areas, office equipment, and break rooms
Migraine Headaches:
• Provide task lighting
• Eliminate fluorescent lighting
• Use computer monitor glare guards
• Reduce noise with sound absorbent baffles/partitions, environmental sound machines, and headsets
• Provide alternate work space to reduce visual and auditory distractions
• Implement a "fragrance-free" workplace policy
• Provide air purification devices
• Allow flexible work hours and work from home
• Allow periodic rest breaks
Skin Sensitivity:
• Avoid infectious agents and chemicals
• Provide protective clothing
Sleep Disorder:
• Allow flexible work hours and frequent breaks
• Allow work from home
Temperature Sensitivity:
• Modify work-site temperature and maintain the ventilation system
• Modify dress code
• Use fan/air-conditioner or heater at the workstation and redirect vents
• Allow flexible scheduling and work from home during extremely hot or cold weather
• Provide an office with separate temperature control

I am requesting a timely response including what you deem to be reasonable accommodations for my situation. Please take time to review the links below for information about Fibromyalgia..
Cynthia Waters

I hope this helps. Feel free to use my letter and add in anything that is relevant. I provided links to information about fibro because I wanted them to read about it and see what I've been going through. I feel this has helped mostly just because now I feel validated at work instead of feeling as if I'm always being scrutinized for my shortcomings. I know my principal is just covering her own behind because she is just not a good person but at least I know I'm covered. I just tell myself that although she's being fake nice to me, it is better than out to get me. Besides, I have way more control now than I did when I was just some other teacher she didn't care for. I've been told that it is very hard to get rid of teachers, especially if they have a disability(law suits, etc.). Let me know if I can help with anything else!

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Date Joined Jan 2009
Total Posts : 1014
   Posted 4/3/2009 5:52 AM (GMT -6)   
Oooo.. good stuff.. thanks!!
Fibormyalgia, 4x Lyme Disease Survivor, Depression, Anxiety Disorder, Dyslexia, 2 Lumbar Disk Herniations, Allergies, Bi-lateral Carpal Tunnel, Psoriasis. 
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Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 235
   Posted 4/3/2009 6:53 PM (GMT -6)   
Your letter is amazing! Thank you for posting it and giving me permission to use some or all of it. I am lucky I don't have to worry about PTA meetings because in Virginia you cannot be foreced to join or attend the PTA.

Enjoy your spring break!

Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 48
   Posted 4/3/2009 7:30 PM (GMT -6)   
I'm so glad I could help. :-)

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   Posted 4/3/2009 10:54 PM (GMT -6)   
What accommodations did they agree to do?

Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 48
   Posted 4/4/2009 12:20 AM (GMT -6)   
They agreed to allow me to come in late if necessary as long as it doesn't affect my teaching schedule, having custodians stack and unstack my chairs when they sweep, allowing for a parapro when needed during my planning (for projects with lots of prep work), they encourage me to let them know if I need help or someone to cover my class for a moment so that I can deal with any stressful situations or pain. They have also been much better about not asking me to do extra duties and tasks since I will take them on regardless of how I feel. They said they would provide all communication in e-mail regarding deadlines or assigned tasks. I'm sure I'm missing some things... overall, they are allowing me to let them know as time goes on what accommodations I need because of the unpredictability of fibro. My administration did make it very clear that their number one priority was the safety and education of the kids and if it got so bad that I could not perform the necessary tasks of teaching art then I would need to consider disability but I think (hope) It will be a while before I am forced to do that. I feel that what we have right now is a start but only time will tell if it is going to be effective. I honestly feel that the part of my job that makes my fibro the worst is the stress. I work in an at-risk school, so I am dealing with kids who have zero social skills and lots of behavior issues. My hope is that through the ADA I will be permitted to transfer to a less stressful school in order to continue working. Let me know if you have any more questions.
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