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Policy on Disability Accommodations in Employment

The University of North Carolina at Greensboro

  • (Approved by the Chancellor, May 14, 2007)

Purpose

The Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in employment, transportation, public accommodation, communications, and governmental activities. The ADA also prohibits discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities in job application procedures, hiring, firing, advancement, compensation, job training, and other terms, conditions, and privileges of employment.

UNCG is required under federal and State law to make a reasonable accommodation to the known disability of a qualified applicant or employee if it would not impose an "undue hardship" on the University. Undue hardship is defined as an action requiring significant difficulty or expense when considered in light of factors such as the University's financial resources, and the nature and structure of its operations. The determination as to whether an undue hardship exists rests solely with the University. The University is also not required to waive (1) any fundamental requirements of a particular job or its operations or (2) any requirement that the individual not pose a direct threat to the health or safety of that person or of other individuals in the workplace.

Scope

This policy applies to all University personnel and also to applicants for vacant positions who desire an accommodation in the application process.

Definitions and Authority

As used herein, these terms shall have the following designated meanings:

Covered personnel:
all University employees, including permanent, probationary, and temporary employees; and applicants for vacant positions who request an accommodation.
Disability:
a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities such as caring for one's self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working.
Direct threat:
a significant risk to the health or safety of the individual with a disability or to others that cannot be eliminated by reasonable accommodation.
Qualified individual with a disability
a person who satisfies the pre-requisites of a position sought or held and who can perform the essential functions of the position, with or without a reasonable accommodation.
Reasonable accommodation
Any change or adjustment to a job or work environment that permits a qualified applicant or employee with a disability to participate in the job application process, to perform the essential functions of a job, or to enjoy the benefits and privileges of employment equal to those enjoyed by employees without disabilities.
Undue hardship
Any accommodation that would be unduly costly, expensive, substantial or disruptive, or that would fundamentally alter the nature or operation of the University or the employee's unit or department.

Procedures for Requesting a Reasonable Accommodation

Formal Process

Covered personnel must complete a "Request for Reasonable Accommodation" form, available at the Department of Human Resource Services ("HRS") or online at the Human Resources Services Forms web page, and an "Employee Disability Verification" form, also available at HRS or online. The completed forms along with any necessary medical documentation must be returned to HRS. By completing the appropriate forms, UNCG will be able to verify the condition, extent of limitation, and identify reasonable accommodations based upon the essential functions of the covered person's job responsibilities and/or needs. Reasonable accommodations will be determined on a case-by-case basis. Although HRS will consult with the covered person, HRS is not required to negotiate with the covered person. HRS shall also consult as necessary with health professionals to verify that the individual has a disability and with the applicable department or division regarding reasonable accommodations. The final determination of what reasonable accommodation will be afforded, if any, remains with the University. Although it is incumbent upon the employee to provide proper medical documentation in the first instance, the University may obtain a second medical opinion at the University's expense.

Informal Process

A University employee may request an accommodation directly from his/her supervisor. A letter will be generated from the supervisor regarding the employee's rights and options. The employee must review, sign, date, and return a copy of the letter to HRS. HRS will contact the supervisor to verify that the employee chose to follow the informal process. The supervisor will notify the employee if the requested accommodation will be provided.

To receive an informal accommodation under this Policy, medical documentation and verification of the disability is usually not required, and there is no determination whether the employee is qualified under the ADA. Any rights the employee may have under the ADA are not triggered, and not available unless the formal process is followed. The department may or may not choose to grant the employee's request for equipment or modification of the work environment. Any accommodation provided to the employee does NOT mean or imply that UNCG regards the employee as disabled under the ADA, and does NOT grant the employee any legal rights under the ADA. UNCG has no legal obligation to grant an accommodation unless the formal process is followed.

Procedures for Supervisors or Department Heads Receiving a Request for Reasonable Accommodation

Upon receiving a request for an accommodation, the employee's supervisor must take the following actions:

  1. Provide a copy of this policy to the employee.
  2. Determine whether the employee wishes to proceed formally under Procedures for Requesting a Reasonable Accommodation, Formal Process or informally under Procedures for Requesting a Reasonable Accommodation, Informal Process and document the employee's choice.
  3. Consult with HRS regarding the determination of an appropriate accommodation.
  4. Implement the accommodation that may be determined appropriate.

Responsibility for Providing the Reasonable Accommodation

Once HRS determines that a reasonable accommodation will be made, it will notify the appropriate supervisor. The department or division shall implement the accommodation and funding for a reasonable accommodation will be handled in the same manner as any other departmental or division expenditure. If the department or division has insufficient funds for the accommodation, it shall seek financial support through other administrative channels. Final determination as to whether an accommodation creates an undue hardship shall rest with the Chancellor after consultation with University Counsel and the Provost or Vice Chancellor for the applicable department or division, or their designated representatives.

Job Applicants

The University may provide accommodations for job applicants, upon request, during the application and interview process. Examples might include providing an interpreter during a job interview, or providing employment forms or tests in an alternative format (large print or Braille).

The procedure for handling accommodation requests for applicants is as follows:

  • An applicant requesting assistance with the employment application process completes a Request for Accommodation in the Application Process form, available from HRS.
  • The Director of HRS and the ADA/504 Compliance Officer may consult with the applicant and will arrange for the accommodation to be provided if appropriate.
  • The request is sent to the appropriate Vice Chancellor or Provost for final approval.

Confidentiality

All documentation and information acquired will be kept confidential to the extent required and permitted by law, and will be made available to others on a "need to know" basis only.

Grievance Procedures

If a University employee believes that a determination under this policy has been reached improperly or unfairly, SPA employees may file a formal grievance following the University's grievance procedures for Staff Employees. EPA employees may file a grievance through the Provost's Office established grievance procedures.

Employees or applicants may also file charges of discrimination directly with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") or, in the case of SPA employees or applicants, may appeal directly to the State Personnel Commission.

Effective Date

This policy is effective June 1, 2007.

Contact

Comments or questions? Email the Policy Administrator in Academic Affairs or Business Affairs.