Sometimes individuals with disabilities need an accommodation to allow full participation in the mediation process. Accommodations that might be needed include:
- assistance with verbal or written communications;
- specific meeting times or specific break times due to disability-related fatigue, medical treatment, medication, etc.;
- management of environmental factors such as light, noise, or chemicals;
- permission for a personal assistant to accompany a party throughout the mediation process;
- reminders about what is being discussed, the roles of others who are present, and the way the mediation process is conducted; and,
- other modifications to the way the mediation is ordinarily conducted.
If you are an “individual with a disability” within the meaning of the ADA, you have a legal right to reasonable accommodation in the mediation if it is not an undue hardship, meaning it does not pose a significant difficulty or expense in light of the mediation provider’s resources or business operations, or fundamentally alter the mediation service. Mediation Around The Table is committed to supporting the needs of all clients and therefore offers accommodations without regard to whether or not someone is a “qualified individual with a disability,” in order to facilitate full and meaningful participation by all parties to the mediation and their representatives.
Let our office know if you are in need of an accommodation. Advance notice allows us to provide many accommodations, such as sign language interpreters, alternative formats for written documents, or an accessible location. The sooner you request an accommodation, the better you can ensure it will be timely provided. You may request a reasonable accommodation at any point during the mediation when you realize that one is needed.
Example: You need to check your blood sugar or take certain medication at specified times during the day, and you assumed this would coincide with the break schedule during the mediation. However, after the mediation session is well underway, you learn that breaks are not going to be taken at the times you thought. Even though the mediation already has started, you should explain to the mediator your medical need for breaks at certain times so that your needs can be accommodated by modifying the planned break schedule.