Reasonable Workplace Accommodation for Disabilities (E-67)
Original Implementation: April 20, 2004
Last Revision: July 20, 2010
Stephen F. Austin State University shall make reasonable workplace accommodation for any employee having a known physical or mental impairment as defined under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and the ADA Amendments Act of 2008, or the Texas Commission on Human Rights Act, which does not constitute an undue hardship to the university. Job postings will include a statement that all responsible workplace accommodations are requested by calling the Human Resources Office.
The director of Human Resources or designee will be responsible for overseeing the reasonable workplace accommodation policy and procedures to ensure compliance.
- Disability: Any employee having a known mental or physical impairment that substantially limits at least one or more life activities of that individual; a record of such an impairment; or being regarded as having such an impairment.
- Qualified Individual with a Disability: A qualified individual with a disability is an individual who meets all the skills, experience, knowledge, educational and other job requirements of the position. In addition, the individual can perform the essential functions of the position with or without reasonable accommodation.
- Reasonable Accommodation: Modifications or adjustments to a job application process that enable a qualified applicant with a disability to be considered for the position such qualified applicant desires; modifications or adjustments to the work environment, or to the manner or circumstances under which the position held or desired is customarily performed, that enable a qualified individual with a disability to perform the essential functions of that position or modifications or adjustments that enable SFA’s employees with a disability to enjoy equal benefits and privileges of employment as are enjoyed by its other similarly situated employees without disabilities.
- Undue Hardship: Accommodation requests may be disapproved based on the impact on operations and business, the cost factors involved, and the effect on the safety of the requestor or other individuals.
Procedures for requesting a reasonable workplace accommodation:
Any employee requiring an accommodation shall notify his/her immediate supervisor as soon as practical, informing the supervisor of the nature of the disability.
Any supervisor notified of a disability shall immediately report it to the director of Human Resources or their designee.
The employee shall provide to the director of Human Resources or their designee the following within a reasonable time from the date of notification, not to exceed fourteen (14) days:
- A letter from an appropriate healthcare or rehabilitation professional. The letter shall contain a diagnosis; prognosis and an evaluation as to the effect the impairment will have on the employee’s ability to perform the essential duties associated with the employee’s position.
- A copy of all documentation relevant to making a decision about reasonable accommodation. Relevant documents may include, but are not limited to, medical records.
The Director of Human Resources or their designee may request a letter from the employee that includes:
- The nature and extent of the physical or mental impairment,
- A complete medical diagnosis by a qualified professional, including the results of any tests conducted to verify the extent of the condition,
- Which, if any, of the major life functions are substantially limited as a result of the employee’s condition,
- A prognosis, including the permanent or temporary nature of the condition and a list of all job functions or tasks the employee cannot perform but can perform if reasonable accommodation is provided, and
- Recommendations for appropriate accommodations based on the job description and current duties, if applicable, including the source and type of any special equipment that may be needed.
The director of Human Resources or their designee shall confer with the employee to ascertain the employee’s requirements and input on a reasonable accommodation.
Before making a decision regarding the accommodation, the director of Human Resources or their designee may submit the employee’s request for accommodation, accompanying documentation and medical records to an appropriate health care professional or a disability committee of appropriate university employees familiar with determining disability status for evaluation and recommendations at the university’s expense. All information will be kept confidential by the expert or committee and all documentation provided to the expert/committee will be returned to the university by the expert/committee.
Based on the relevant information provided, the director of Human Resources or their designee shall determine what, if any, reasonable accommodation will be made and shall convey it to the employee and management. If accommodation would constitute undue hardship on the university, supporting documentation will state the reasons. An undue hardship determination will conform to definitions provided by the courts, ADA Amendments Act of 2008, and the Texas Commission on Human Rights Act. Factors that may affect an accommodation decision should include, but are not limited to, the availability of funding, the amount of disruption of work of other employees, and the impact on the university’s ability to conduct business.
Reasonable workplace accommodations taken may include making existing facilities readily available; modifications or adjustments to the work environment or manner or circumstances under which the position’s essential functions are customarily performed; modifications or adjustments that enable the individual with the disability to enjoy equal benefits and privileges as other similarly situated employees without disabilities; and other appropriate adjustment to the work environment of a qualified individual with a disability.
Unless extenuating circumstances exist, the review process should not exceed a period of thirty (30) days.
The director of Human Resources or their designee shall periodically confer with the employee with the disability to determine continuance of the workplace accommodation and shall notify the appropriate university personnel regarding the continuation or discontinuation of the workplace accommodation.
In addition to ADA information, all medical information concerning the employee requesting an accommodation shall remain confidential and separate from personnel files. This includes any doctor’s statements; leave forms, or any other information that pertains to the medical condition or medical history of the employee.
This pertains not only to all records kept by the Human Resources Department, but extends to any records kept in the departmental offices. The president or their appointed representative shall periodically review and update this policy and procedures to ensure compliance with EEO laws.
Cross Reference: Non-Academic Employee Handbook; Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Pub. L. No. 93-112, 29 U.S.C. § 793, 34 C.F.R. § 104, 41 C.F.R. § 60-741; the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Pub. L. No. 110-325, 42 U.S.C. §§ 12101-12213 as amended by the American with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008, Pub. L. No. 110-325, 122 Stat. 3553; and the Texas Commission on Human Rights Act, Tex. Lab. Code §§ 21.051-129
Responsible for Implementation: Vice President for Finance and Administration
Contact for Revision: Director of Human Resources and General Counsel