If you suspect a potential disability it is critical that you engage in dialogue asking employees if there is anything that the employer can do to help them perform in their jobs. This will often open the door for the employees to advise you of any potential disabilities covered under ADA. Employees and applicants do not have to use legal language such as “reasonable accommodation” when expressing workplace barriers and the need for an accommodation.
According to the EEOC, an individual may use “plain language” and need not mention the ADA or use the phrase “reasonable accommodation” when requesting an accommodation. A need may be indicated by an employee stating something such as “I am having trouble hearing customers due to my recent hearing loss, as a result of treatment for XYZ.” This should be enough to prompt interactive dialogue and should be considered a request for an accommodation.