Disability Support Services Policy for Employees and Applicants

Policy Title Disability Support Services Policy for Employees and Applicants
Policy Category Employment, Benefits, and Workplace Policies
Original Policy Approval Date July 18, 2017
Policies Superseded None
Responsible Office Finance
Related Policies None
Frequency of Review Three (3) Years
Date of Next Review June 8, 2023
Date of Revision  

I. Scope

This Disability Support Services Policy for Employees and Applicants (“Policy”) applies to all University faculty and staff, and any applicants who have or seek employment with the University who are in need of Reasonable Accommodations. See Section IV below for the definitions of capitalized terms contained in this Policy that are not defined in the sections below.

II. Policy Statement

The University is fully committed to compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (“ADA”), as amended by the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (“ADAAA”), and Pennsylvania state law prohibiting discrimination against individuals with disabilities.  As such, the purpose of this Policy is to provide an environment that is free from discrimination, including discrimination based on disability. The University prohibits harassment or retaliation against any individual requesting an accommodation or filing a complaint under the grievance procedures referred to herein.

III. Policy

It is the University’s responsibility to ensure that Qualified Individuals (defined below) with disabilities are treated in a nondiscriminatory manner in the pre-employment process and that employees with disabilities are treated in a nondiscriminatory manner in all terms, conditions, and privileges of employment.

  1. Disability Defined

    An individual with a disability is defined by the ADAAA as any person who (1) has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities; (2) has a record of such impairment; or (3) is regarded as having such an impairment.  Some examples of a major life activity include seeing, hearing, speaking, walking, learning, reading, concentrating, and interacting with others.

    An individual satisfying parts (1) or (2) of this definition and who have satisfied the requisite skills, experience, education, and other job-related requirements of the employment positions they hold or seek, and who can perform the essential functions of his or her position, with or without Reasonable Accommodation, shall be referred to as a Qualified Individual.

  2. Requesting a Reasonable Accommodation

    The University will make a good faith effort to provide a Reasonable Accommodation to a Qualified Individual to ensure their equal access to employment with the University unless it would result in an undue hardship to the University. Qualified Individuals who wish to request a Reasonable Accommodation should contact the Associate Vice President of Human Resources in writing (including email).  In the event a request for Reasonable Accommodation is made to a Dean, Department Chair, or Supervisor, the request should be immediately forwarded to the Associate Vice President for Human Resources.

    Requests for Reasonable Accommodations related to University work from Student workers, including undergraduate and graduate student employees and graduate assistants (teaching and research), will be reviewed by the Associate Vice President of Human Resources in consultation with the University’s Disability Support Services, the Office of Student Accounts, or other administrative offices, as appropriate.

  3. Provision of Accommodations

    Upon receipt of a request for an accommodation by a Qualified Individual, the Associate Vice President of Human Resources shall engage in an interactive process with the individual making the request.  It is the University’s responsibility to determine whether the individual has a disability for which an accommodation is required, what constitutes an appropriate accommodation, and whether the accommodation requested is reasonable and feasible. This shall be an informal process designed to determine the nature of the limitations resulting from the disability and the appropriate accommodation that will allow the individual to perform the essential functions of their job.  Prior to providing a Reasonable Accommodation, the University reserves the right to require documentation prepared by an appropriate health care professional, including, but not limited to: a statement regarding how the individual’s disability affects a major life activity, a recommendation of a Reasonable Accommodation, and how the requested accommodation will enable the individual to perform their job. It is the responsibility of the individual requesting the accommodation to provide sufficient information, upon request, to support the need for the accommodation requested.

    If, after the employee has provided documentation, the nature or extent of the medical condition described by the employee or applicant is unclear, more information is needed about the functional limitations imposed by the medical condition, or the relevance or efficacy of the requested accommodation to the reported disability is unclear, the Associate Vice President of Human Resources may request an independent medical examiner (IME) to review the request and supporting documentation.  The IME may need to contact the employee’s medical provider for further information, and if so, the employee will be asked to provide consent to disclose or release the information.  The IME will communicate the results of this medical review to the Associate Vice President of Human Resources.

    If the accommodation as initially provided is insufficient, upon receipt of notice of the insufficiency, the Associate Vice President of Human Resources shall make a good faith effort to implement any appropriate additional measures necessary to overcome the Qualified Individual’s limitations.

  4. Notification of Accommodation

    If the review of the employee’s or applicant’s information and supporting documentation indicates that a Reasonable Accommodation is warranted, the Associate Vice President of Human Resources will consult with the employee or applicant to establish an effective and Reasonable Accommodation that will enable the employee to perform the essential functions of the job.  In some cases, Disability Services, Facilities, and other departments or offices who have a need to know information may be consulted for technical assistance regarding what accommodations are appropriate, feasible, and available.  The Office of General Counsel may also provide guidance, particularly if it appears that a requested accommodation imposes an undue hardship to the University or that the employee cannot perform the job effectively or safely even with accommodation.

    Within a reasonable period of time, the employee will be informed of the final action taken on the accommodation request, including what, if any, Reasonable Accommodation will be provided.  The Associate Vice President of Human Resources will record the final action taken.

  5. Confidentiality

    Information and records about individual disabilities are treated as confidential information under applicable federal and state laws and are only provided to individuals on a need-to-know basis when authorized by the individual. Information may be disclosed to the employee’s supervisor(s) and other personnel who need to be informed in order to assess requests for, implement, or monitor Reasonable Accommodations. Information may also be provided to personnel called on to provide emergency medical treatment to the applicant or employee, or other government officials investigating compliance with disability leave or regulations.

    Access to disability-related information, including medical documentation, is limited to protect an individual’s privacy. Requests for workplace accommodations and accompanying documentation are kept separate from an individual’s personnel file.

    Federal law prohibits employers from requesting genetic information of an employee or an employee’s family member unless an exception applies. Genetic information includes an employee’s family medical history, the results of family member’s genetic tests, genetic services received, and genetic information of a fetus or embryo.

  6. Financial Responsibilities

    The Office of Human Resources will be responsible for the initial costs, if any, associated with the provision of Reasonable Accommodations.  If the Reasonable Accommodation requires an annual renewal cost, the Office of Human Resources will make a request to the Vice President of Finance that a permanent funding source be provided within the responsible individual department’s budget.

  7. Appeal Grievance Procedures

    Any individual, who wants to appeal a decision or has complaints regarding the provision or denial of a service, accommodation, or adjustment pursuant to this Policy, should contact the Associate Vice President of Human Resources.  If the complaint arises out of an action of the Associate Vice President of Human Resources, the appeal/complaint should be filed directly with the Vice President of Finance and Administration. 

    Any employee wishing to file a grievance because of perceived discrimination based on their disability may pursue resolution through the procedures contained within the Interim Non-Discrimination and Non-Harassment Policy.

IV. Definitions

Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended by the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (ADA): A civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the general public. The law requires employers to reasonably accommodate Qualified Individuals with disabilities.

Reasonable Accommodations: Modifications made to enable a Qualified Individual with a disability to perform the essential functions of a position. Depending on the specific circumstances and the documentation received, accommodations may include:

  • Acquisition or modifications of equipment or devices, appropriate adjustment, or modifications of training materials or policies;
  • Making existing facilities used by faculty and staff or applicants readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities;
  • Job restructuring;
  • Modified work schedules;
  • Working remotely at times;
  • Consideration for transfer or reassignment;
  • Providing of qualified readers or interpreters; or
  • Other similar accommodations for individuals with disabilities.

University: Arcadia University, its colleges, schools, affiliates, divisions and subsidiaries.

V. Effective Date

This policy is effective on the date it was signed by the President.

VI. Date of Approval

July 18, 2017