Local Human Resources
If an employee has disabilities that impair the employee's ability to perform his/her job, an effort must be made to provide accommodation to enable the employee to work in a modified capacity or change to a more suitable position. In this way, the University can keep valued, experienced and trained employees, while complying with our obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Fair Employment and Housing Act.
This is the engagement into the interactive process and helps the University to evaluate whether job modifications can be made that enable the employee to perform the essential functions of the job when:
- An employee is out for a prolonged disability leave;
- An employee discloses that s/he has a disability impacting his/her job;
- An employee provides medical information describing prolonged or permanent impairments.
This engagement may start with the hiring process.
The interactive process
When a reasonable accommodation is needed, please contact Accommodation and Leave Services (ALS) to facilitate the interactive process.
With a reasonable accommodation request, it is imperative that the interactive process and exchange take place between Accommodation and Leave Services (ALS), the supervisor and the employee. During this interactive process, the parties will discuss whether or not accommodations are necessary for the employee to be able to perform the essential functions of the job. Accommodations must be made on a case-by-case basis, but could include job restructuring, initiating part-time or modified work schedules, and providing assistive devices.
It is important to note that accommodations are based on the unique needs of the employee's limitations and the necessity to perform the essential functions of the job and not necessarily on the employee's preferences. On the other hand, if reasonable, primary consideration should be given to the employee's preferences. The department does have the discretion to select between equally effective accommodations in terms of cost and ease of implementation.
Examples of accommodations (depending on business needs) for employees with disabilities include:
- Flexible scheduling: Allow more frequent or extended breaks, different starting times, time off for doctor appointments, etc. For example, you might move an employee to a later shift to accommodate drowsiness experienced after taking morning medication.
- Reduced work schedule: Temporarily reduce work hours or reassign the employee to part-time work. An employee might return to work part-time following a hospitalization (drawing partial short-term disability and part-time salary) until able to a resume full-time schedule.
- Telecommuting: Depending on the type of job, allowing the employee to work from home part of the time could be appropriate. For example, a programmer might work from home two or three days a week to partially accommodate an anxiety or adjustment disorder.
- Modified job: Reassigning non-essential work tasks, evaluating equipment and machinery used in terms of safety issues, reassigning work area for ease of concentration and/or reduced noise levels.
The goal of accommodation is to help the employee perform the essential job functions and meet normal performance standards.
If the interactive process is thorough and complete, yet concludes that the employee cannot be reasonably accommodated within the department, the employee can then participate in the Priority Reassignment process.
The Priority Reassignment process will reassign or refer a qualified disabled individual to an active vacant position if all attempts to implement other reasonable accommodations have been unsuccessful.