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Employee Relations

Disability Accommodation for Applicants and Employees

Section I. Guidelines

A. Policy Statement

It is the policy of The University of Texas at San Antonio to provide equal access and opportunity to job applicants and otherwise qualified persons with disabilities in compliance with Sections 503 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, and ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA) of 2008. The University prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in all aspects of the application process and the employment relationship.

B. Scope

This policy applies to applicants for employment with, and employees of, the University who have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; have a record of such impairment; or are regarded as having such impairment.

C. Definitions

  • An individual with a disability is a person with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; has a record of such impairment; or is regarded as having such impairment.
  • A qualified individual with a disability is defined as one who possesses the requisite skills, education, experience and training for a position, and who can, with or without reasonable accommodation, perform the essential functions of the position the individual desires or holds.
  • A substantial limitation is defined as an impairment that prevents the performance of a major life activity that the average person in the general population can perform; or a significant restriction as to the condition, manner or duration under which an individual can perform a particular major life activity as compared to the average person in the general population.
  • A reasonable accommodation is defined as a modification or adjustment to the job application process or the work environment that enables a qualified person with a disability to be considered for a position, perform the essential functions of a position, or enjoy the same benefits and privileges of employment as are enjoyed by similarly situated employees without disabilities.
  • Undue hardship is defined as "excessively costly, extensive, substantial or disruptive or that would fundamentally alter the nature or operation of the business." In considering undue hardship, factors to be considered include nature and cost of accommodation, financial resources and impact of accommodation on the organization.

Section II. Procedures

A. Obtaining Information Concerning Disabilities and Accommodation

  • Applicants: Applicants can obtain information concerning accommodations in the application process by contacting the ADA coordinator at 458-4031.
  • Employees or Supervisors: Employees or supervisors can obtain information concerning disabilities and accommodation by contacting the ADA coordinator at 458-4031. Employee requests for information, and the provision of information by the ADA Coordinator concerning disabilities and accommodation is not considered a part of the accommodation process.

B. Initiating the Accommodation Process

  • Applicants: Applicants for employment can initiate a request for accommodation by contacting the ADA Coordinator.
  • Employees: Employees can initiate the accommodation process by requesting an accommodation for a disability from the ADA coordinator, Office of Human Resources; or by making such a request to the employee's immediate supervisor, either verbally or in writing. Link to:  Employee Accommodation Request Form
  • Supervisors: Supervisors who receive a request for accommodation shall immediately notify the ADA coordinator, Office of Human Resources; so that the official processing of the request can begin. Any supervisor who, in the course of job performance counseling, is informed by an employee that a physical or mental condition may be affecting the employee's work performance shall refer the employee to the ADA coordinator, Office of Human Resources, and notify that office of such referral.

C. Processing the Accommodation Request

Upon receipt or referral of an accommodation request from an applicant or an employee, the ADA coordinator shall begin the review process. For a current employee, the process will involve, in appropriate cases, verifying the disability for which the accommodation is requested, contacting the supervisor to determine or verify essential job functions and, after a determination that the disability is covered under the law, engaging in or facilitating discussions with the employee and supervisor (and possibly health care provider) concerning reasonable accommodations.

Employees may be required to provide written documentation (see below).

D. Documentation of a Disability

Employees may be required to provide written documentation from their health care provider concerning the impairment, the degree of impairment, and the major life activities affected by the impairment at the time an accommodation is requested.

  • Applicant or Employee Responsibility
    An applicant or employee shall provide the ADA coordinator with adequate documentation from a qualified health care professional. Reasonable accommodations will not be provided prior to the receipt of adequate documentation as determined by the ADA Coordinator.
  • Documentation Requirements
    The documentation provided by an applicant or employee must be from a qualified health care professional and must clearly identify and describe the following:
    • The specific impairment(s) causing the disability;
    • The major life functions or activities affected by the impairment;
    • The degree of limitation to those functions and activities caused by the impairment.
  • Non-receipt of Documentation
    If the ADA Coordinator does not receive the required documentation and information from the health care provider within four (4) weeks of being informed of a disability by the applicant or employee, he or she will notify the applicant or employee and request that he or she contact the health care provider. If the ADA Coordinator does not receive the required information within two (2) weeks of this notification to the applicant or employee, the request for accommodation will be cancelled.
  • Receipt of Documentation
    After receiving the documentation from the health care provider, the ADA Coordinator will review the medical information to determine its adequacy. If the information provided is incomplete, unclear or inconsistent, the ADA Coordinator can request that the applicant or employee obtain additional or clarifying information from their health care provider.
  • Independent Medical Opinion
    The AVP of HR, at the recommendation of the ADA Coordinator has the authority to obtain, at University expense, an independent medical opinion concerning the impairment for which an employee seeks an accommodation. The failure of an employee to cooperate in obtaining such an opinion will result in the cancellation of the request for accommodation.

E. Disability Determination

The ADA Coordinator shall determine if the applicant or employee has a substantially limiting impairment of a major life activity that prevents the individual from performing one or more essential job functions, or from enjoying the same benefits and employment privileges as are enjoyed by similarly situated employees without disabilities.

Measures that correct or mitigate a physical or mental impairment, and the effects of those measures, shall be considered in determining whether an individual is substantially limited in a major life activity.

F. Reasonable Accommodation Determination

When an applicant is found to have a disability covered under the law, the ADA Coordinator will work with the individual to make accommodations to the application process.

When an employee is found to have a disability covered under the law, the ADA Coordinator will work with the individual and the department head to identify and discuss accommodations that will enable the individual to perform the essential functions of the job.

G. Confidentiality

Any records or information obtained by ADA Coordinator as a part of the accommodation process that reflect diagnosis, evaluation, or treatment of an employee's medical or mental health condition are confidential and shall be maintained by the ADA Coordinator in a separate file. Such records shall be shared with only those University employees who have a need to know in order to implement the accommodation process; and shall not be released except as required by law.

H. Complaint Procedures

Applicant, Employee - refer to the Handbook of Operating Procedures

For Assistance: Additional questions from applicants, employees or supervisors regarding Disability Accommodations should be directed to ADA coordinator at 458-4031.

Source: Sections 503 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as amended; Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

 

Updated: March 31, 2011