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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Accommodation and Compliance: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

About Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

In order to receive a diagnosis of CFS, a patient must satisfy two criteria. First, an individual must have severe chronic fatigue of six months or longer duration with other known medical conditions excluded by clinical diagnosis. Second, an individual must concurrently have four or more of the following symptoms: substantial impairment in short-term memory or concentration; sore throat; tender lymph nodes; muscle pain; multi-joint pain without swelling or redness; headaches of a new type, pattern, or severity; erratic sleep; and malaise lasting more than 24 hours.

In addition to the primary defining symptoms of CFS, some CFS patients have reported a number of other symptoms. They include gastrointestinal, pain, nausea, photosensitivity, respiratory and skin issues, and weight changes. A majority of CFS patients also report mild to moderate symptoms of anxiety or depression. The treatment of CFS focuses on symptom management. 

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and the Americans with Disabilities Act

The ADA does not contain a list of medical conditions that constitute disabilities. Instead, the ADA has a general definition of disability that each person must meet. A person has a disability if he/she has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a record of such an impairment, or is regarded as having an impairment. For more information about how to determine whether a person has a disability under the ADA, see How to Determine Whether a Person Has a Disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA).

Accommodating Employees with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

People with CFS may develop some of the limitations discussed below, but seldom develop all of them. Also, the degree of limitation will vary among individuals. Be aware that not all people with arthritis will need accommodations to perform their jobs and many others may only need a few accommodations. The following is only a sample of the possibilities available. Numerous other accommodation solutions may exist.

Questions to Consider:

  1. What limitations is the employee experiencing?
  2. How do these limitations affect the employee and the employee’s job performance?
  3. What specific job tasks are problematic as a result of these limitations?
  4. What accommodations are available to reduce or eliminate these problems? Are all possible resources being used to determine possible accommodations?
  5. Has the employee been consulted regarding possible accommodations?
  6. Once accommodations are in place, would it be useful to meet with the employee to evaluate the effectiveness of the accommodations and to determine whether additional accommodations are needed?
  7. Do supervisory personnel and employees need training?

Accommodation Ideas:

Situations and Solutions:

Events Regarding Chronic Fatigue Syndrome