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I work as a leasing consultant for a small property management company. They’ve recently decided that all employees are no longer allowed to listen to music while they work at their desks. Previously, we were allowed to have one earbud in as we work as long as we didn’t ignore calls, prospects, or residents.

For myself, I only use music when I am doing paperwork as I have ADHD and autism. The music helps me focus and mute out otherwise extremely distracting sounds that cause my work ability to plummet. In the past, when any persons have entered the office I’ve immediately taken it out and I’ve never let it interfere with my workflow for the office. I’ve worked with this company for almost a year and this has never been an issue brought up by any management personnel in the company until today.

Due to my disabilities, that are extensively documented, would I have grounds to request an accommodation for this privilege as it pertains to the success of my work?

Both in high school and college was I allowed to listen to music to help me focus on my work. Obviously I know the workforce is different from school settings but it’s been proven extremely useful for me previously.

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    A location tag would be very useful here. Law and expectations vary
    – cdkMoose
    May 18, 2023 at 19:37
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    How many employees does the property management company have? Where is it located? If you do ask for that accommodation, make sure you make your request via email. You need to prove you made that request. You can follow it up with a phone call. But ultimately, we need to know the number of employees and the jurisdiction this is in. This is very important. May 19, 2023 at 0:52
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    Do you have to work at your desk? Or can you take over a conference room and listen to music there?
    – David R
    May 19, 2023 at 14:47
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    Without specifying your region this isn't really answerable since whether your request would qualify as a reasonable accommodation in your jurisdiction heavily depends on your location and the size of the company (as for instance with FMLA in the US). Assuming your question isn't really "Can I" but more "Should my employer allow me to". You could also edit this to reorient the question to "how do I request an exemption" or something similar if you don't want to go the legal route just yet.
    – Lilienthal
    May 20, 2023 at 21:40

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If you truly have documented disabilities, then I would consult with your medical doctor. They may be willing to provide you with a note explaining that you must be allowed to listen to music while working. If you are in America, there are various federal laws that require employers to accommodate those with disabilities.

As an example, I have a bad back and have had several surgeries and I presented my employers with a doctor's note indicating that I needed a special lumbar support chair and they immediately got me one.

Good luck.

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    The key point is once the medical diagnosis is done and provided to the employer, the ball is in the employer's courts. Any future injuries can be directly blamed on the employer. There's a reason why these requests are completed so quickly because the liability is established.
    – Nelson
    May 19, 2023 at 1:15
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    In the US, reasonable accommodations are required if your company has 15 or more employees. In California, I think it's 5 or more employees. This is why we need to know the location. May 22, 2023 at 3:29

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