How You Can Help Employees Succeed

People with arthritis are just as capable and talented as any other employee. In some cases — but not all — an employee with arthritis might need a special piece of equipment or other accommodation to perform to the best of their ability. These may include:

  • Ergonomic adjustments, such as a footrest, sit-to-stand desk or dictating device.
  • ADA-compliant facilities, including restrooms and alternatives to stairs.
  • Time off for medical visits.
  • Flexible hours or the ability to work remotely.


The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires employers and managers to provide reasonable accommodations as needed (without creating undue hardship to the employer) to help a disabled employee succeed in her job. But in order for the employee to truly participate and contribute fully, managers won’t just accommodate her needs, they will create a welcoming work environment.

An employee with arthritis might choose not to reveal his arthritis to co-workers or managers. If he does confide in the manager, the employee might choose to discuss whether and how to disclose his arthritis to others on staff, but it is ultimately the employee’s decision.

The manager also can work with the employee to determine what reasonable accommodation will enable the employee to participate fully and productively. Accommodations should be provided without fanfare, but they also shouldn’t be secretive; especially if the employee has an “invisible” disease, like arthritis, providing accommodations in a secretive way may be seen as favoritism and foment resentment among other staff.