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University of Houston - Victoria

Office of the Vice President for
Administration and Finance

SECTION: HUMAN RESOURCES INDEX: C-31
SUBJECT: REASONABLE WORKPLACE ACCOMMODATION FOR EMPLOYEES WITH DISABILITIES

POLICY

It is the policy of the University of Houston-Victoria (University/UHV) that all qualified employees with disabilities are afforded equal employment opportunity in compliance with federal and state laws. The University, in keeping with its values and goals, provides reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities. Employees shall not be subjected to retaliation for having utilized or having assisted others with the process of requesting a reasonable workplace modification.

The University adheres to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 1990, the ADA Amendments Act of 2008, the Texas Commission on Human Rights Act and University of Houston System Administrative Memorandum 02.E.09.

The University has developed this policy to assist with the submission and processing of workplace accommodation requests.This policy applies to any employee who has a disability, as defined by this policy as well as federal and state law.

DEFINITIONS

ADA Coordinator - The individual who has been appointed by the institution as the person responsible for ensuring that the university is in compliance with the provisions of this policy. The Director, HR/EO/Title IX Coordinator (Director, HR/EO) serves as the ADA Coordinator at UHV.

Person with a Disability - Is an employee with a physical or mental impairment who, as a result of such impairment, is substantially limited in performing one or more of life's major activities. This includes employees who not only have the impairment, but also employees who have a "record of" such impairment or have been "regarded as" having such impairment. This also includes employees who have been "regarded as" having such an impairment; however, an employee who is considered a person with a disability solely on the basis of being "regarded as" having a disability is not entitled to a reasonable accommodation.

Qualified Person with a Disability – An employee who meets the definition of a person with a disability and who also possesses the skill, experience, educational and licensing requirements of the position of which s/he is currently an incumbent and who, with or without a reasonable accommodation, can perform the essential functions of that position.

Essential Functions - Job tasks that are fundamental, not marginal, to the performance of the position.

Genetic Information - An individual's family medical history, the results of an individual's or family member's genetic tests, the fact that an individual or an individual's family member sought or received genetic services, and genetic information of a fetus carried by an individual or an individual's family member; or an embryo lawfully held by an individual or family member receiving assistive reproductive services.

Reasonable Job Modification – A reasonable adjustment in the work environment or in the manner a job or position held is customarily performed, that enables a Qualified Person with a Disability to perform the essential functions of that position, so long as it does not create an undue hardship to the University. An individual who is considered a Person with a Disability solely on the basis of being regarded as having a disability is not entitled to a Reasonable Accommodation.

Major Life Activity - An activity that is considered important for living and that the average individual can perform with little or no difficulty. Major life activities include, but are not limited to, caring for oneself, walking, talking, seeing, hearing, eating, standing, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, lifting, bending, and working, or the operation of a major bodily function (including but not limited to, functions of the immune system, normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, and reproductive functions.)

Substantial Limitation - An impairment or restriction whereby an individual cannot perform one or more Major Life Activities, or is hindered as to the condition, manner, or duration under which an individual can perform one or more Major Life Activities, as compared to the average individual in the general performance of the affected activity or activities.

Licensed Health Care Practitioner - An individual who has successfully completed a prescribed program of study in a health field and who has obtained a license or certificate indicating his or her competence to practice in that field.

PROCEDURES

ADA COORDINATOR

The Director, HR/EO serves as the ADA Coordinator for the University. The ADA Coordinator is responsible for ensuring that this policy is properly implemented and followed. ADA Coordinator responsibilities include:

  1. Serving as a point of contact for the component institution community regarding reasonable workplace accommodations;

  2. Facilitating the workplace accommodations request process;

  3. Maintaining the records of associated workplace accommodation requests;

  4. Compliance with all other aspects of this policy.

Records or information obtained by the ADA Coordinator as part of the accommodation request 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, HR Department, in a separate file. Such records shall be shared with only those University employees who the ADA Coordinator or designee, determines have a need to know such information and/or the content of such records in order to implement the workplace accommodation process; and shall not be otherwise released except as required by law.

Information obtained by the ADA Coordinator during the accommodation request process is not obtained as part of psychological counseling services and is not subject to the confidentiality regulations applicable to such counseling services.

PROCEDURE FOR WORKPLACE ACCOMMODATION

  1. Request

    A request for a reasonable job modification must begin with the employee. The employee should contact the ADA Coordinator to obtain and thereafter complete the Request for Workplace Accommodation form (References), and submit a copy of the completed form to his or her supervisor with the original of the completed form going to the ADA Coordinator. Supervisors who receive a request for an accommodation from an employee shall immediately notify the ADA Coordinator.

  2. Medical Inquiry/Documentation of Disability

    Documentation of a disability will be required when a disability and/or need for a workplace accommodation is not obvious. Unless the disability and/or need for a workplace accommodation is obvious, the ADA Coordinator shall provide the employee with a copy of his or her job description and a Medical Inquiry form (References). The Medical Inquiry form is to be completed by the employee's Licensed Health Care Practitioner.

    The Medical Inquiry form will instruct the employee's Licensed Health Care Practitioner to refrain from providing any Genetic Information, as defined in this policy, in completing the form.

    The employee shall submit the Medical Inquiry form to the ADA Coordinator. The ADA Coordinator and the employee's supervisor will review the forms interactively to continue with the reasonable workplace accommodation process. The employee's Request for Job Modification, Medical Inquiry form and other related documents shall be maintained by the ADA Coordinator.

  3. Non-Receipt of Documentation

    If the ADA Coordinator does not receive the required documentation and information from the employee within 28 calendar days of being informed of a disability by the employee, the ADA Coordinator will notify the employee in writing and request that the employee submit the required documentation, including the Request for Job Modification form and the Medical Inquiry form, to the ADA Coordinator within ten working days.

    If the ADA Coordinator does not receive the required information within ten working days of this notification to the employee, the request for accommodation will be cancelled for lack of necessary information.

  4. Independent Medical Opinion

    The University has the authority to obtain, at its expense, an independent medical opinion concerning the impairment for which an employee seeks an accommodation, including additional suggestions or recommendations regarding reasonable workplace accommodations, yet excluding Genetic Information.

    The failure of an employee to cooperate in obtaining such independent medical opinion will result in the cancellation of the request for accommodation.

  5. Interactive Reasonable Workplace Accommodation Review

    Once all required documentation has been provided to and/or obtained by the ADA Coordinator, the ADA Coordinator shall determine if the employee is a "Qualified Person with a Disability." If the requesting employee is a "Qualified Person with a Disability," the employee's supervisor and the ADA Coordinator will engage in an interactive review to determine whether the workplace accommodation requested by the employee is reasonable and, if so, whether it should be approved and implemented. As part of this interactive review, the ADA Coordinator and the employee's supervisor will take the following steps:

  6. Analyze the particular job involved and determine its purpose and essential functions.

  7. Consult with the employee to ascertain the precise job-related limitations imposed by the individual's disability and how those limitations could be overcome with a reasonable accommodation.

  8. In consultation with the employee, identify potential accommodations and assess the effectiveness each would have in enabling the individual to perform the essential functions of the position; and

  9. Consider the preference of the individual to be accommodated and select and implement the accommodation that is most appropriate for both the employee and the University.

If the ADA Coordinator and the employee's supervisor do not agree that the employee's request for workplace accommodation is reasonable or for any other reason(s) do not agree that it should be made, the employee, the ADA Coordinator, and the employee's supervisor will make reasonable efforts to work together to determine what other alternatives may be considered if, and as, appropriate.

After engaging in this interactive process, the ADA Coordinator shall make a final recommendation as to an appropriate workplace accommodation, if any, to the employee's supervisor.

The ADA Coordinator will issue a final recommendation within ten (10) working days of receiving the required documentation. Any approved reasonable workplace accommodation shall be implemented in a timely fashion.

If the employee's supervisor rejects the ADA Coordinator's final recommendation, the employee's supervisor must provide the ADA Coordinator a written justification for the rejection. In such instances, the requesting employee may utilize the appeal procedure outlined in this policy.

Once a determination has been reached regarding the request, a Workplace

Accommodation Response form will be completed and signed by the requesting employee, the requesting employee's supervisor, and the ADA Coordinator.

  1. Expectations of Accommodated Employees

    Employees who have been granted a reasonable workplace accommodation must maintain the University's standards of performance, attendance, and conduct as specified by the accommodated employee's department or unit.

  2. Appeal of ADA Coordinator's Workplace Accommodation Response

An employee who believes that a request for a workplace accommodation has been unreasonably denied or otherwise disagrees with the ADA Coordinator's Workplace Accommodation Response may file a written appeal with the appropriate Vice President to whom the employee ultimately reports within ten (10) working days of the date on the Workplace Accommodation Response form. In the event that the employee holds a position with reporting lines of authority under different Vice Presidents, the Vice Presidents will jointly agree which one shall consider the appeal.

The appropriate Vice President shall review the Request for Workplace Accommodation, Medical Inquiry, and the Workplace Accommodation Response forms, along with any other records or information submitted to the ADA Coordinator during the initial workplace accommodation review and, within twenty (20) working days of the date of the appeal, determine whether the ADA Coordinator's Workplace Accommodation Response should be upheld.

If the appropriate Vice President determines that the ADA Coordinator's Workplace Accommodation Response should not be upheld, the appropriate Vice President in consultation with the ADA Coordinator and the employee's supervisor shall determine an alternative reasonable workplace accommodation.

The Vice President's decision is final and not appealable. The Vice President's decision is not subject to the complaint provisions below.

Pursuance of Complaint within the University

An employee who believes that he or she has been discriminated against on the basis of a disability, or retaliated against due to a request for an accommodation made pursuant to this policy may contact the Director, HR/EO to address a complaint of employment discrimination and/or harassment. Refer to University policy C-22, Discrimination and Harassment (References) This does not include complaints against the ADA Coordinator or appropriate Vice President regarding a decision or recommendation made pursuant to this policy. Those decisions cannot be grieved pursuant to the University's policy regarding employment discrimination and/or harassment.

The complaint should be made as soon as possible after actions that are believed to be discriminatory have occurred, but not later than sixty working days after occurrence.

Pursuance of Complaints Outside the University

This policy does not preclude anyone from pursuing a complaint of discrimination with external agencies. Additional avenues for filing a complaint at any time before, during or after use of the University's policy regarding employment discrimination and/or harassment, but within the time

limits required by law, may include, but are not necessarily limited to, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Texas Workforce Commission.

REFERENCES

  1. Request for Workplace Accommodation form

  2. Medical Inquiry form

  3. Workplace Accommodation Response form

  4. University Policy C-22, Discrimination and Harassment

Approved:

Signature Obtained             02/28/14
Dr. Philip Castile, Ph.D      Date
President

Next review date: February, 2017
Origination: Human Resources