Workplace Accommodations for Employees
Overview of the ADA
In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), Sections 503 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (RA), and the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA), Wichita State University (WSU) prohibits discrimination against qualified individuals with a disability.
For the purposes of employment, the ADA, RA, and ADAAA are designed to help individuals with disabilities access the same employment opportunities and benefits available to individuals without disabilities. These civil rights laws require employers to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified applicants for University positions and current employees.
Students who need accommodation in academic programs should contact the Office of Disability Services, (316) 978-3309, to initiate the process. Students who need accommodation in their employment show follow the guidance below.
An individual with a disability is a person who:
- has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; or,
- has a record of such impairment; or,
- is regarded as having such an impairment.
Three factors are considered to determine whether a person’s impairment substantially limits a major life activity:
- the nature and the frequency of the impairment;
- the expected duration of the impairment; and,
- the permanency or long-term impact of the impairment.
Major Life Activities may include:
Lifting, sleeping, concentrating, breathing, working, eating, walking, standing, reaching, thinking, reading, bending, hearing, seeing, speaking, learning, sitting, caring for self, interacting with others, performing manual tasks, and communicating.
Major life activities may also include:
Major bodily functions including immune, hemic, digestive, bowel, bladder, genitourinary, lymphatic, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, reproductive, musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, special sense organs/skin, and normal cell growth.
Temporary, non-chronic impairments of short duration, with little or no long-term or permanent impact, are usually not disabilities. Such impairments may include, but are not limited to, broken limbs, sprained joints, concussions, appendicitis, and influenza.
A qualified individual is someone who meets the skill, experience, and education requirement of the position held or desired and who can perform the essential functions of the position with or without reasonable accommodations.
Reasonable accommodations are any modification or accommodation to a job, practice, policy, or the work environment that enables an employee to perform the essential functions of a position without creating undue hardship for the employer and/or posing a direct threat to the health or safety of the individual making the request or others.
Reasonable accommodations may include, but are not limited to:
- acquiring or modifying equipment or devices;
- providing qualified readers or interpreters;
- modifying work schedules, reassigning to a vacant position; and
- making existing facilities readily accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities.
The process for determining if there are reasonable accommodations that can be implemented is called the interactive process. It is an ongoing conversation between an employee and Human Resources (HR) as well as between HR and the employee’s supervisor to determine if there are reasonable accommodations that will enable the employee to complete the essential functions of their job. Documentation of the request and interactive process is required and will be documented by human resources.
Accommodation requests and any supporting documentation related to the determination of the request will be kept separate from the employee personnel file, in the employee's confidential medical file in HR. Employers informed of an employee's limitations and request for accommodation are prohibited from disclosing such information to other employees and third party individuals with the following limited exceptions:
- Supervisors may know about necessary restrictions on the work or duties of an employee and any accommodations;
- First aid and safety personnel may be informed if the disability might require emergency treatment or specific procedures are needed in the case of fire or other evacuation; and,
- Government officials investigating compliance with the ADA and/or other federal and state laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of disability may be provided relevant information upon request.
Any applicant or employee who believes he or she had a reasonable accommodation request denied, was discriminated against based on disability, or was retaliated against due to an accommodation request is encouraged to make a complaint with the Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance. The Notice of Non-discrimination Policy, including the complaint process, may be found online (refer to University Policy 3.02 / Notice of Nondiscrimination for more information).
Persons with disabilities requesting accommodations in the application or interview process, please notify Human Resources at (316) 978-3065 or email email@example.com.
Workplace Modification or Accommodation Request Process
If you are a WSU employee who needs a modification in order to meet the requirements of your job, please discuss your situation and possible solutions with your supervisor and then follow the below steps.
Steps to Request an Accommodation:
- Employee: After discussing your situation with your supervisor, complete an Employee Request (ER) Form (Fillable PDF) detailing any job-related limitations and possible modification(s), and submit it
to Human Resources (HR) at firstname.lastname@example.org. Hard copies of the ER form and other accommodation process forms are available in
Human Resources (HR) upon request.
- If you need assistance filling out the ER form, need help with requesting an accommodation, or have any questions, you may contact your Human Resources Business Partner (HRBP) for assistance. To confirm the HRBP for your department or area, please refer to the list of HRBP contacts.
- Human Resources: After receiving the completed ER form, HR will review the request and, if needed utilize
the interactive process. During the interactive process:
- Step 1 of interactive process: HR will meet with the employee to identity possible accommodation options that will enable the employee to fulfill the essential functions of their job. HR may request additional medical documentation from the employee as related to the identified disability or limitations.
- Step 2 of interactive process: HR will meet with the supervisor to discuss possible accommodations. Supervisors may introduce new or additional ideas or options to accommodate the employee's needs that will enable the employee to fulfill the essential functions of their role.
- Step 3 of interactive process: If the supervisor introduces a new idea or option that the employee has not considered, HR will meet to discuss the information with the employee to determine if this is a possible option.
- Step 4 of interactive process: Once an accommodation has mutually been agreed upon by the employee and supervisor, HR will document the accommodation through the interactive form and coordinate the implementation of the accommodation, if needed.
- Human Resources: Will communicate the determination/outcome of the accommodation request (approved, temporarily approved or denied) to the employee and supervisor. The completed documentation, including the request form, any supporting information, interactive process documentation, and final determination will be stored in the confidential employee medical file, which is separate from personnel file as required by federal ADA requirements.
- Employee:Have a discussion with your supervisor if the agreed upon accommodation is not working. If an adjustment, update or additional request is needed they should be discussed with your supervisor and email email@example.com with a request to speak with an HR representative about your accommodation needs. Any updates to accommodations will be filed in the employee medical file.
Resources for Frequently Asked Questions
- U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission: The ADA Frequently Asked Questions
- U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP): The ADA Amendments Act of 2008 Frequently Asked Questions
- ADA.gov - Information and Technical Assistance on the ADA
- Job Accommodation Network
- National Council on Disability
- U.S. Access Board
- U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
- U.S. Department of Labor
Who to Contact
HR Total Rewards Team
Updated: 01/19/2022 SRAP