Accommodation for Employees with Disabilities

Temple University is committed to providing equal employment opportunities for all employees, including those with disabilities. Consistent with its obligations under Section 504 of Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act of 2008, the University provides reasonable workplace accommodations to qualified employees with disabilities.

A reasonable accommodation is a modification or change in the workplace or the way things are customarily done that provides an equal employment opportunity to an individual with a disability. Examples of reasonable accommodations include, but are not limited to: acquiring or modifying adaptive equipment, job restructuring, modified work schedules, providing interpreters, removing readily achievable physical barriers, and providing paid or unpaid leave.

This policy addresses who is eligible to receive accommodations, the process by which employees can request accommodations, and the expectations of supervisors and managers in engaging in the interactive process to determine what accommodations are appropriate.

I. Eligibility/Definitions
All qualified employees with disabilities, including regular, full-time, part-time, temporary, casual or limited employees, are eligible to request workplace accommodations. An employee is considered to have a disability under this policy if he or she has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activity, or if he or she has a record of such impairment.

Major life activities include, but are not limited to, caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating and working.

An employee is considered qualified if he or she has the requisite skills, experience and education to perform the job, and is able to perform the essential functions of the job with or without permission.

II. The Interactive Process
The interactive process of determining what accommodations are reasonable and appropriate for an employee with a disability is done on a case-by-case basis and involves the employee, the supervisor/manager, and Human Resources.

A. Making a Request
An employee is generally responsible for indicating his or her need for accommodation. To initiate the process, the employee must submit an Accommodation Request Form to Employee Relations. If an employee makes a request for accommodation to someone other than ER staff, such as a supervisor or manager. These individuals should forward the request to the Employee Relations Office for review.

B. Documentation Requirements
The Employee Relations Office will request documentation of the condition and information on why the accommodation is necessary from an appropriate medical or mental health provider. If the initial documentation provided by the health professional is not sufficient, ER will inform the employee and explain what additional information is needed. The employee is then responsible for obtaining the missing information from the health care provider.

Except as required by law, diagnosis info and disability documentation is not shared with the employee’s supervisor or manager. Documentation is maintained securely in the Employee Relations Office and does not become part of the employee’s personnel file.

C. The Interactive Process
After receiving sufficient documentation Employee Relations will contact the supervisor/manager to explore whether the requested accommodation is reasonable. An accommodation is not considered reasonable if it would create an undue hardship for the University. Examples of accommodations that pose an undue hardship include, but are not limited to, accommodations that are unduly costly, extensive or would alter or remove an essential function of the employee’s job. The determination of whether a requested accommodation is an undue hardship is a fact-specific inquiry that must be made on a case-by-case basis.
In the event that the requested accommodation is found to be unreasonable, the parties are expected to work together to determine what, if any, alternative accommodations may meet the employee’s needs.
After the parties have agreed on what accommodations are reasonable, ER will provide an Accommodation Approval Letter. Both the employee and the supervisor/manager may request a review of the accommodations at any time. An employee’s receipt or denial of an accommodation does not prevent him or her from making another request at a later date if his or her needs change. Similarly, supervisors and managers may request a review of the approved accommodations if they believe that the business needs of the department currently make them unreasonable.

III. Accommodation Requests in the Pre-Hire Process
People with disabilities applying for positions in the University may request any accommodations they require to have an equal opportunity to participate in the pre-hire process. Applicants who require an accommodation should contact the appropriate divisional office as noted on the job posting to make their request. Supervisors, Managers and Human Resources staff may contact the Employee Relations Office if they are unsure whether or not an accommodation requested during the pre-hire process is reasonable or if they require resources on how to fulfill the applicant’s request.

IV. Appeal Process
If an employee makes a request that he or she believes is reasonable and it is denied, or if an employee’s approved accommodations are not implemented, the employee may contact the Equal Opportunity Compliance to file a complaint.

V. Contact
Questions regarding this policy should be referred to the Employee Relations Office at 215-926-2298.

updated: 09/01/2016
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