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Disability Services

Frequently Asked Questions

Why won't a simple note from my doctor on a prescription pad be sufficient?

The rights of people with disabilities is set by law, either Federal law or Washington State Law. Like all laws, the language used is meant to define exactly to whom the law applies. Therefore, the word "disability" is defined in the law. Not everything medical is a disability. The law requires that there must be significant limitation imposed on the individual by the condition. If the limitation raises to the level of disability, the people qualified to make that determination is a medical expert in the medical area that diagnoses and treats such conditions. The medical expert should provide information on the nature and extent of the limitation as well as the "label" of what type of disability the individual has.

Will I get whatever my doctor says I need as an accommodation?

Disability law deals with helping individuals with disabilities have equal access to everything that individuals without disabilities enjoy. Disability laws are not entitlement laws. People with disabilities do not receive special treatment or have lower expectations imposed on them. Therefore, any service provided must be directly related to the limitation of the disability. The intent is to negate the limitation. If doctors recommend things that are not related to the limitation of the disability, employers have no obligation to provide them.

How do I prove that an accommodation I seek is reasonable?

The employee doesn't have to prove that an accommodation is reasonable. There has to be an obvious linkage between the limitation of the disability and the requested accommodation. If that accommodation is not a financial hardship, is not administratively burdensome to implement, and does not fundamentally alter the nature of the purpose of the institution, the law defines it as reasonable. The word "reasonable" has a specific, legal definition under disability law and does not carry the same meaning as it does in casual language.

Who decides whether I get the accommodation that I request?

The ADA Compliance Officer of Central Washington University is the person is charged with receiving and ruling on requests for accommodation based on disability. If the requested accommodation is clearly linked to the limitation of the disability and satisfies the legal definition of disability, that accommodation will likely be approved. However, if another accommodation would be equally effective and be less expensive, the university has the right to choose the less expensive accommodation.

I was granted an accommodation, why would I be asked to update my documentation?

While disabilities, under Federal law, are permanent conditions, disabilities are not necessarily stable. Individuals can have disabilities which have symptoms that may become more or less limiting over time. In order to be sure that accommodations are adequate and effective, the university can request, on a case by case basis, that employees provide more current information on the disability.

Is my doctor's written documentation the "final word?"

In many instances, the university will accept written documentation for an employee's doctor and use that documentation to make the determination of accommodation. However, if the university wishes to obtain another medical opinion, the university, at its expense, can arrange for another medical expert review the employee's records and require that the employee submit to an examination by this second doctor.

How do I start the process?

Simply download the "Employee Notification of Disability and Request for Accommodation(s)": Download Form

Submit the completed form to:

Disability Services/HR
Bouillon 140
400 E University Way
Ellensburg WA, 98926-7425
Fax: 509-963-3235
Phone: 509-963-2171
Email: cds@cwu.edu

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