Employee Reasonable Accommodation Policy

Sponsor:

Office of the President, Affirmative Action Office

Contact:

Affirmative Action Officer

Category:

Collegewide

Number:

100.002

Effective Date:

2012/01/01

Review Date:

2015/01/01

Implementation History:

Revised on 01/01/2012; Created 04/21/2010

Keywords:

accommodation

Background Information:

Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to assure college compliance with federal, state and local laws pertaining to the rights of potential and current employees with disabilities.

Definitions

Disability: A diagnosed physical or mental impairment that affects the performance of one or more major life activities.  Individuals with a history of impairment or regarded as impaired are also protected from discrimination on the basis of that disability.

Qualified individual with a disability: A person with a disability, who with or without reasonable accommodation is able to perform the essential functions of his or her job.

Reasonable accommodation: A modification to an employee’s work environment or tasks that does not reduce standards, fundamentally alter the nature of the employee’s work or pose an undue burden on the institution.

Essential functions: Those tasks or functions that, if modified, would fundamentally change the nature of the job or occupation for which the position exists.

Statements

  1. Empire State College is committed to ensuring equal opportunity and access in education and employment for all qualified persons and prohibits discrimination against those with disabilities, in accordance federal, state and local laws. It is college policy to provide reasonable accommodation to a person with a disability to enable such person to perform the essential functions of the position for which he/she is applying, or in which he/she is employed.
  2. The Reasonable Accommodation Policy applies to all employment practices and actions. It includes, but is not limited to, recruitment, the search process, skills assessment, hiring, training, disciplinary actions, rates of pay or other compensation, advancement, classification, transfer and reassignment, and promotions. 
  3. Qualified individuals with documented disabilities (as defined by state and federal regulations, including those regarding a perceived disability), are eligible to request reasonable accommodations. The college will make reasonable accommodations for individuals with disabilities on a case-by-case basis; and will treat all requests in a confidential manner. Only relevant information pertinent to making an accommodation will be shared with college officials, as necessary.
  4. The college affirmative action officer in the Office of the President serve as the ADA/504 coordinator and is  responsible for ensuring compliance with federal and state regulations and college policy.
  5.  An employee with a disability must be able to perform the essential functions of his/her job either with or without reasonable accommodation.
  6. Final responsibility for selection of the most appropriate accommodations rest with the college.

(Students are not covered under this policy and should be referred to the student handbook “Rights of the Disabled and Procedures For Accommodating Students with Disabilities at Empire State College”)

Applicable Legislation and Regulations

New York State Human Rights Law

Sections 503/504 of the Federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973

American with Disabilities Act (ADA) 1990, as amended ADAA 2009

New York State - Executive Order 6.

Related References, Policies, Procedures, Forms and Appendices

Procedures for requesting an accommodation:

  1. An employee may request minor informal accommodations directly with their respective dean or vice-president. Informal requests are not considered official, do not establish a record, and are not subject to laws pertaining the rights for persons with disabilities.
  2. The following outlines the formal accommodation process to ensure that requests are treated in a consistent and equitable manner and in accordance with the law. Medical documentation is protected and confidential.
  3. All requests for formal accommodations must be submitted to the affirmative action officer in the Office of the President. Accommodation forms are available online at www.esc.edu/affirmative-action-office.
  4. Medical documentation may be required to substantiate a medical condition or disability.
    1. When documentation is requested the employee is responsible for providing it in a timely manner.
    2. The college provides a form for the diagnosing professional to document a disability. When the form is not used other disability documentation must clearly indicate the following:
      1. The diagnosis
      2. The diagnostician’s credentials
      3. The life activity(ies) limited, including a statement of the nature and extent of the limitation
      4. How the functional limitations may impact the expected work duties
      5. A statement of recommended workplace accommodations as determined by the medical provider.
    3. Once the employee has submitted a request for an accommodation and supporting documentation, the ADA/504 coordinator will take steps to determine an appropriate accommodation within 10-business days of a completed request, including documentation.

Process for Reviewing Accommodation Requests:

  1. The appropriateness of an accommodation is determined through a review of documents, including job descriptions, performance programs, and disability documentation and may include discussions with the employee, employee’s immediate supervisor, and other administrative officials, as necessary.
  2. A requested accommodation is considered reasonable if it:
    1. does not compromise the essential functions of the job
    2. does not create an undue financial or administrative burden on the institution
    3. does not create a danger to the employee or others
    4. is not individually prescribed and customarily acquired by the individual (e.g. hearing aids, etc.)
    5. is not solely for home use
  3. The ADA/504 coordinator may convene an implementation team to identify any resources needed in the implementation process for the reasonable accommodations. Team members may include the employee, the immediate supervisor and/or dean/director, the Student College-wide Disabilities Coordinator, a representative from the Office of Administration and/or a representative from the Office of Human Resources. Meetings may take place in person or via conference call, as needed.
  4. The employee will receive a notice of formal determination.
    1. A memorandum of accommodation (MOA) is sent to the employee with a copy to the administrator responsible for the employee’s work location.
    2. The MOA specifies the accommodations implemented as well as the specified resources required and summarizes the timeframe and process for implementation.
    3. If any difficulties arise with the implementation of the accommodation, the employee or the supervisor may contact the ADA/504 coordinator to discuss possible solutions.
  5. Final responsibility for selection of the most appropriate accommodation rests with the college.

Appealing and Accommodation Determination:

Employees have a right to appeal a decision regarding an accommodation. A formal appeal may be filed in accordance with the college’s discrimination complaint procedure. Disability related appeals may be filed when the employee feels that the accommodation does not reasonably accommodate his or her needs or a request has been denied. Formal appeals must be submitted within 30 business days of receiving notification of an accommodation decision.

Process for Implementing an Accommodation Request

  1. During the implementation process, key stakeholders are invited to discuss the terms of the accommodation.
  2. This process provides the employee an opportunity to raise concerns, as well as share information that may be relevant to the implementation.
  3. In order to ensure sufficient time to coordinate auxiliary aids and services, it is the responsibility of the employee to make the request in a timely manner.
  4. Any difficulties arising from the implementation of the accommodation, the employee or the supervisor may contact the co-ADA/504 coordinators to discuss possible solutions.

Employee Reasonable Accommodation Request Form (PDF  42kB)

Discrimination Complaint Procedure (PDF  254kB)

Note: You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to read PDFs. If Acrobat Reader is not installed on your computer, you can download it for free from Adobe.