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Disability Accommodation Policy

 

Statement of Purpose

It is the policy of the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire to provide reasonable accommodations for qualified individuals with disabilities who are employees or applicants for employment. UW-Eau Claire will adhere to all applicable federal and state laws, regulations, and guidelines with respect to providing reasonable accommodations as required to afford equal employment opportunity to qualified individuals with disabilities. Reasonable accommodations will be provided in a timely and cost-effective manner. Employment opportunities shall not be denied because of the need to make reasonable accommodations for an individual's disability. Questions regarding this policy should be directed to the ADA Coordinator, Human Resources, Room 220, Schofield Hall.


Definitions


Disabled individual. Note: In the past, state and federal law provided definitions of "Handicapped" individuals and have shifted to "persons with a disability" as the preferred term. For purposes of this policy the term "disability" is used with the understanding that it has the same meaning as "handicap" in state and federal law.


The Americans with Disabilities Act (28 C.F.R.s35.104) utilizes a three-pronged definition of disability. For the purposes of coverage under the ADA, a person with a disability is defined as an individual who:

  1. has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; or
  2. has a record or history of such an impairment; or
  3. is perceived or regarded as having such an impairment.

The State Fair Employment Act (s. 111.32) defines a "Handicapped individual" as an individual who

  • has a physical or mental impairment that makes achievement unusually difficult or limits the capacity to work;
  • has a record of such an impairment, or
  • is perceived as having such impairment.

"Major life activities" include functions such as caring for one's self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working.


Qualified disabled individual. An individual with a disability whose experience, education and/or training enable the person, with or without reasonable accommodation, to perform the essential functions of the job.


Reasonable accommodation. The effort made to make adjustments for the impairment of an employee or applicant by structuring the job or the work environment in a manner that will enable the disabled individual with a disability to perform the essential functions of the job. Reasonable accommodation includes, but is not limited to: making facilities accessible, adjusting work schedules, restructuring jobs, providing assisting devices or equipment, providing readers or interpreters, and modifying work sites.


Procedures for Requesting Accommodations


> Applicants for Employment


All applicants who are invited for an interview will be informed of the University policy to provide reasonable accommodations for applicants and employes with disabilities. They will be informed that they can request accommodation for interviews and be informed how to make the requests.


The following information will be provided to applicants either in writing or verbally:


"It is the policy of UW-Eau Claire to provide reasonable accommodations for qualified persons with disabilities who are employees or applicants for employment. If you need assistance or accommodations to interview because of a disability, please contact Human Resources at (715)836-2513. Employment opportunities will not be denied to anyone because of the need to make reasonable accommodations for a disability."


If written notification cannot be delivered to applicants prior to the interview, they will be notified of their right to request accommodations by phone when the interview arrangements are made.


All applicants will be asked the same questions regarding their ability to perform required job duties. These questions may be prefaced with a statement regarding UW-Eau Claire's willingness to provide reasonable accommodations.


Note: Applicants cannot be asked whether or not they have a disability.


If an applicant indicates during the interview process that he or she has a disability, follow-up questions regarding possible accommodations may be pursued.


Qualified applicants cannot be denied employment solely on the basis of a need to provide a reasonable accommodation.


> Employees


Unclassified employees will be informed of their right to request reasonable accommodation of disabilities in the Faculty and Academic Staff Rules and Procedures and at the time of the employee data review which allows employees to self-identify as persons with disabilities.


This information will be provided to classified employees in the Handbook for Classified Service Employees and at the time of the employee data review which allows employees to self-identify as persons with disabilities.


When an employee volunteers that he/she has a disability, the supervisor should immediately ask if an accommodation is needed and remind the employee of the right to ask for an accommodation.


All formal requests for reasonable accommodations must be in writing using the Disability Accommodation Request Form. pdf


> The Decision-Making Process


The Process:


An employee formally requesting an accommodation must complete the Disability Accommodation Request Form (DER-DAA-10) and give it to his or her supervisor. This request must include written medical verification of the disability and any consequent limitations on work activities.


The supervisor will review the request and consult with the employee, the medical practitioner, the ADA Coordinator, with other Human Resources staff and with the dean or director of the work unit regarding the suitability and reasonableness of the accommodation request. In determining an appropriate accommodation, the supervisor will take care to provide confidentiality for the employee.


The supervisor may arrange to have additional medical or rehabilitation specialists evaluate the essential functions of the job and/or the employee’s capabilities in order to recommend possible accommodations.


The employee will be informed of the decision regarding the accommodation request in writing, using the Disability Accommodation Request Form, within 20 working days. If the 20-day limit cannot be met, the supervisor will meet with the employee to agree on a reasonable time limit.


A supervisor must consult with the ADA Coordinator before modifying or denying a requested accommodation. If the employee disagrees with the decision, he/she may appeal to the UW-Eau Claire affirmative action officer and/or may initiate legal proceedings with a regulatory body (Wisconsin Personnel Commission, EEOC, etc.) See Section V for the UW-Eau Claire appeal process.


*Working day is defined as a day in which the administrative offices of the university are open


> Guidelines for Making an Accommodation Decision


The employee or applicant will always be the primary person consulted with when determining the most appropriate accommodation.


Employees will be given an opportunity to provide, or arrange for, their own accommodations; for example, using volunteer drivers or readers, or providing their own adaptive equipment. However, the procedures in these policies and guidelines must be followed (written request, approval, etc.) even if employees provide or arrange for their own accommodations. This assures that accommodations are documented and that the accommodations are not disruptive to the workplace.


Factors which should be considered when determining reasonableness of the requested accommodation include:


* Are the job functions for which the accommodation is required essential to the overall performance of the job?
* Is the applicant or employee otherwise qualified to perform the essential job functions?
* Does the accommodation accomplish the desired result, i.e., allowing the individual to effectively perform the essential functions of the job?
* Will the accommodation adversely affect the productivity or work environment of other employees in the work unit?
* Are there other more cost-effective options which will allow the individual to perform the essential functions of the job?
NOTE: The University will attempt to provide an accommodation that is effective in enabling the employee to perform the essential functions of the job. The accommodation provided may not necessarily be the best one or the one that the employee prefers.
As a general rule, the university will purchase equipment only if it is determined that the use of the equipment is necessary in transaction of the official business of the university. The equipment may not be of a personal nature (for example: eyeglasses, hearing aids, etc.)


Devices may also be available from other sources. The State Division of Vocational Rehabilitation can provide funds or equipment in some instances. Community organizations and service clubs occasionally also sponsor the purchase of equipment, as do some foundations and insurance companies working with individuals disabled as a result of an injury.


If an employee of the University acquires a disability and the university is not able to make reasonable accommodations which will allow the individual to continue in his or her current position, the Provost/Vice Chancellor or designee (for unclassified staff) or a Human Resource Manager in Human Resources (for classified staff) will explore possibilities for placement in other positions within UW-System. The movement to another position may be a transfer, a demotion, or change to part-time employment, and must be made in accordance with applicable faculty and academic staff personnel policies, collective bargaining agreements, Chapter 230 of the state statutes, and Administrative Rules for Chapter 230.
While no legal responsibility exists for alternative placement outside the UW-System, employees will be advised of their rights to other positions in state government. Human Resources and the Affirmative Action Office are resources for employees as they seek other opportunities.


After accommodations are provided, the employee and his/her supervisor need to evaluate the effectiveness of the accommodation. If modifications to the accommodation are needed, a new accommodation request should be filed.
At the bottom of this policy is a list of sources of technical assistance for choosing an appropriate accommodation.


> The Appeal Process

  • If an employee disagrees with a decision regarding an accommodation request, the employee has a right to appeal the decision using the following procedure. Applicants do not have access to this procedure. They have the option to initiate legal action with a regulatory body (Wisconsin Personnel Commission, EEOC, etc.) or file a state or federal lawsuit.
  • When an accommodation request is denied, an employee may, within thirty (30) calendar days, appeal the decision to UW-Eau Claire’s affirmative action officer. The appeal must be in writing stating the reason for the disagreement.
  • Upon receipt of the written appeal the affirmative action officer will investigate the matter and decision. In conducting the investigation the affirmative action officer will take care to provide confidentiality for the employee. The affirmative action officer may, as appropriate, include any or all of the following steps in the investigation:
  • Consider any additional information or statements supplied by the employee.
  • Obtain permission from the employee and seek additional medical information.
  • Consult vocational rehabilitation experts.
  • Consult Human Resources, the employee's supervisor, other appropriate members of the supervisory chain-of-command
  • .Contact individuals whose names have been mentioned as having additional information or being able to provide a perspective on the decision to deny the accommodation.
  • Seek information from outside agencies, such as DER/DAA, DHSS/DVR or DOA 504 coordinator.

In an attempt to come to an acceptable accommodation, the affirmative action officer will discuss additional findings with the employee's supervisor and other appropriate members of the supervisory chain of command.


The affirmative action officer will then discuss all information regarding the appeal with the Provost and/or appropriate Vice or Assistant Chancellors prior to making a decision.


The employee will receive the affirmative action officer’s final decision regarding the appeal in writing within 25 working days* after the appeal was filed. If it is not possible to meet this deadline, the affirmative action officer will indicate, in writing, the need for an extension and set a new deadline.


If unsatisfied with this determination, any party to the matter may file a written request to the Chancellor for a final determination in the matter.


TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE RESOURCES FOR WORKPLACE ACCOMMODATION OF DISABILITIES

  1. The employee should be the first resource when a reasonable accommodation is being considered.
  2. Affirmative Action Officer, ADA Coordinator, Human Resources staff and the employee's supervisor.
  3. The Section 504 Coordinator, Wisconsin Department of Administration, (608)266-0411.
  4. Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, Eau Claire Field Office, (715)836-4263.
  5. Easter Seal Society of Wisconsin (Access Wisconsin). Assistance regarding persons with physical disabilities, (608)257-3411.
  6. Job Accommodation Network. A computerized database of accommodation information which related directly to job situations, 1-800-526-7234.
  7. Disability and Business Technical Assistance Center; 1640 West Roosevelt Road M/C627, Chicago, IL 60608 (312)412-1407 Voice & TDD, (312)413-1326 Fax.
  8. Equal Opportunity Program Analyst, UW-System, 1654 Van Hise Hall, (608)262-5504.

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