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Human Resources

Reasonable Accommodation of Employees with Disabilities

2-2.2.1.5 Policy on Reasonable Accommodation of Employees and Applicants with Disabilities

2-2.2.1.5.1 Policy Basis and Purpose

  1.     This policy is based on the "state policy guidelines on reasonable accommodation of persons of disabilities related to state employment," issued November 1, 1994, by the Washington state office of financial management which exists under the authority of executive order 96-04 and with reference to Americans with disabilities act of 1990 (P.L. 101-335), 29CFR Part 1630 and 28 CFR Part 35; rehabilitation act of 1973 (P.L. 93-11) and 45CRF Part 84; chapter 49.60 RCW (freedom from discrimination); chapter 162-22 WAC (human rights commission); and chapter 251-10 WAC (resignation, layoff, separation).
  2.     Purpose: This policy sets forth broad guidelines for meeting reasonable accommodation requirements of state and federal law. Central Washington University has developed internal procedures for the implementation of these guidelines, and submitted those procedures for the implementation of this policy. This policy should not be construed as providing rights or obligations not provided under applicable laws.
  3.     Scope: This policy affects all Central Washington University employees and candidates for employment with the university. Persons with disabilities have the right to request and receive reasonable accommodation in all aspects of employment with the university, including but not limited to: Application recruitment; selection/hiring; promotion; testing; medical examinations; layoff/recall; assignments; termination; evaluation; compensation; disciplinary actions; leave; training; the terms, conditions and benefits of employment including insurance benefits; and employer supported activities.
     

2-2.2.1.5.2 Definitions

  1.     Essential functions: Essential functions means the fundamental job duties of the position that the individual with the disability holds or has applied for. The term "essential functions" does not include the marginal functions of the positions.
  2.     Equal employment opportunity: Equal employment opportunity means an opportunity for a qualified individual with a disability to perform the essential job functions or to enjoy equal benefits and privileges of employment as are available to a similarly-situated applicant or employee without a disability.
  3.     Health care professional: Health care professional means a person who has completed a course of study and is licensed to practice in a field of health care which includes the diagnoses and assessment of the particular disability or disabilities in question.
  4.     Person with a Disability: Person with a disability means:
  5.         Under 42 U.S.C. 12102, a person with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities e.g., walking, speaking, breathing, seeing, hearing, working, etc.); or
  6.         Under chapters 49.60 RCW and 162-22 WAC, a person who has an abnormal condition that is medically cognizable or diagnosable, and who is denied reasonable accommodation or is discriminated against on the basis of that condition.
  7.     Qualified individual with a disability: Qualified individual with a disability means an individual who meets the skill, experience, education, and other job-related requirements of the position held or applied for, and who, with or without reasonable accommodation, can perform the essential functions of the job.
  8.     Reasonable accommodation: Reasonable accommodation means modification or adjustment to a job, work environment, policies, practices, or procedures that enables a qualified individual with a disability to enjoy equal employment opportunity and that does not impose an undue hardship on the employer.
  9.     Undue hardship: Undue hardship means an excessively costly, extensive, substantial, or disruptive modification, or one that would fundamentally alter the nature or operation of the institution or program.

2-2.2.1.5.3 Rights and Obligations of the Employee, Employer, and Applicants

  1.     Generally, it is the obligation of an individual with a disability to request a reasonable accommodation.
  2.     A qualified individual with a disability has the right to refuse accommodation. However, if the individual cannot perform the essential functions of the job without the accommodation, he or she will not be considered to be an otherwise qualified individual with a disability after refusing accommodation.
  3.     Central Washington University will provide reasonable accommodation to the known physical, mental or sensory limitations of an otherwise qualified individual with a disability.
    • The obligation to provide a reasonable accommodation applies to all aspects of employment. This duty is ongoing and may arise any time that a person's disability or job changes.
    • The need for reasonable accommodation shall not adversely affect the consideration of an individual with a disability for employment, training, promotion or opportunity to enjoy equal terms, benefits, privileges and conditions of employment.
  4.     All information regarding the presence or nature of an employee's or applicant's disability must be treated as a confidential medical record and is maintained in a secure manner, apart from personnel files and with access restricted to designated personnel on a need to know basis.
     

2-2.2.1.5.4 The university has developed internal grievance procedures for addressing disputes related to requests for reasonable accommodations. These procedures:

  1.     Explain the method for submitting a grievance;
  2.     Describe any internal appeal process;
  3.     Identify an individual responsible for overseeing the process;
  4.     Set forth reasonable time frames for the review and resolution of the grievance; and
  5.     Provide for documentation of complaints submitted and the steps taken to attempt resolution. (See CWU Policies Manual, Section 2-2.2.3.1, Equal Opportunity Grievance Procedures.)
  6.     When an applicant or employee requests an accommodation and the disability is not readily apparent, the disability has not been previously documented, and/or the reasonableness of the request is not obvious, the university may request that the applicant or employee provide verification from a health care professional that he or she has the disability as claimed and that it has the effect of necessitating reasonable accommodation.
    • The request for verification may ask the opinion of the health care professional as to whether the employee or applicant can perform the essential functions of the job and whether the requested accommodation is appropriate to the disability.
    • The university may obtain additional opinions at its own expense from health care professionals of its own choice. Such inquiries are limited to verification of the employee's claims, except that the university may also request that the health care professional comment on the appropriateness of the requested accommodation or suggest possible effective alternative accommodations.
    • If there are two or more effective accommodations that would allow the individual with a disability to perform the essential job functions, after considering the preference of the individual with a disability, the University may select the accommodation to be provided.
  7.     The university may require a medical examination and/or health care professional's certificate where a question arises concerning the fitness of a current employee to perform the duties of his or her position. The university will bear the cost of medical examinations and/or certificates, except those required of an employee upon return to work after an absence.
     

2-2.2.1.5.5 Recruitment/Selection

  1.     Reasonable accommodation is provided in every stage of the recruitment, application and selection process to enable a qualified applicant with a disability to have an equal opportunity to be considered for a job.
  2.     Notification of the right to make an accommodation request and information on how to initiate such a request must be included with all announcements and bulletins.
  3.     Timely response to an accommodation request is essential in providing equal opportunity. Failure to provide accommodation in a timely manner shall be justification for extension of application and other deadlines.
  4.     Qualification standards, employment tests, or other selection criteria must not screen out or tend to screen out an individual with a disability unless they are job related and consistent with business necessity.
  5.     Employment tests are used in the most effective manner to measure actual abilities. Tests accurately reflect the skills, aptitude, or other factors being measured, and not the impaired sensory, manual, or speaking skills of an employee or applicant with a disability (unless those are the skills the test is designed to measure).
  6.     Staff at designated contact points for information about job openings and the application process are given the training and authority necessary to initiate the university's process for the provision of reasonable accommodations.
     

2-2.2.1.5.6 Performing Essential Functions of Job

  1.     Each position should be examined, to determine its purpose and essential functions. Appropriate times to examine a position include when the position is established, when it becomes vacant, when the duties are changed, or when a request for a reasonable accommodation is made. The following criteria are considered in identifying the essential functions of a job:
    • Are employees in the position actually required to perform the function;
    • Would removing that function fundamentally change the job;
    • Was the position established to perform the function;
    • Are there a limited number of other employees available to perform the function, or among whom the function can be distributed; and
    • Is the function highly specialized, and is the person in the position hired for special expertise or ability to perform it?
  2.     Upon receiving a reasonable accommodation request, the university will consult with the individual with a disability to find out his or her specific physical or mental abilities and limitations as they relate to the essential job functions, identify the disability-related barriers to job performance, and assess how accommodation can overcome these barriers.
  3.     The university will consult with the employee, and may consult with other knowledgeable sources, to identify potential accommodations and assess how effective each would be in enabling the individual to perform the essential job functions.
  4.     If there are two or more effective accommodations that would allow the individual with a disability to perform essential job functions, after considering the preference of the individual with a disability, the university may select the accommodation to be provided.
  5.     When an accommodation in an employee's present position is not reasonable, or would cause an undue hardship, the university shall attempt to accommodate the employee through reassignment to another vacant position, at the same pay range or lower, for which she or he is qualified, within the university. The university shall, within the practical limitations of its ability assist the employee in identifying and applying for vacant positions, for which she or he is qualified. The university shall inform the employee of his/her responsibility for:
    • Generally, placement under this policy is without competition; however, employees covered by this policy may compete with similarly-situated candidates for the same vacant position.
    • If no such position is available and after the employee has exhausted leave entitlement under the family and medical leave act (FMLA), the employee will be separated from the university and accorded reemployment assistance for a period of three years.
    • The university is not required to create a position, displace another employee, or move an employee into a position for which the employee is not qualified.
    • The employee is responsible for providing current information showing medical condition, skills, abilities, training, and experience. Refusal by the employee to cooperate in placement efforts or to provide adequate medical documentation may result in separation.
    • The university is responsible for informing the employee of his or her responsibilities.
       

2-2.2.1.5.7 Equal Terms, Benefits, Privileges, and Conditions of Employment

  1.     Reasonable accommodations are provided to enable an employee with a disability to enjoy terms, benefits, privileges, and conditions of employment equal to those enjoyed by similarly situated nondisabled employees.
  2.     The need to provide a reasonable accommodation is not a factor in the selection of an employee for promotion, training, travel, participation in projects, committees, or any opportunity which may have an impact on an employee's career development.
  3.     Reasonable accommodations are provided to enable an employee with a disability the opportunity to enjoy all employer-supported social or recreational activities.
  4.     Time lines for all activities and opportunities covered under this section shall allow adequate opportunity for arranging reasonable accommodations.
  5.     Information contained in communications regarding activities or opportunities covered under this section is provided to an employee with a disability in a manner or format that is readily accessible to that employee. Employees are notified about the university's obligation to provide reasonable accommodations, and are instructed as to how to initiate such a request.
     

2-2.2.1.5.8 The Undue Hardship Limitation

  1.     The university is responsible for making reasonable accommodation unless doing so would impose an undue hardship on the operation of the institution or a particular program. However, before concluding that a particular accommodation would impose an undue hardship, the university will consider whether there are alternative accommodations that would not impose such hardship. The university is not required under this policy to create a position, displace another employee, or move an employee into a position for which the employee is not qualified.
  2.     The following criteria are considered in determining undue hardship:
    • The nature and net cost of the accommodation needed, taking into consideration the availability of outside funding;
    • The overall financial resources of the program involved in the provision of the reasonable accommodation, the number of employees, and the effect on expenses and resources;
    • The overall financial resources of the university with respect to the number of employees and the number, type and location of its facilities;
    • The type of operations of the university including the composition, structure, and functions of its workforce; the geographic separateness; and administrative or fiscal relationship of the program in question to the university; and
    • The impact of the accommodation on the operation of the program, including the impact on the ability of other employees to perform their duties and the impact on the university's ability to conduct business.
  3.     If the cost of a reasonable accommodation would impose an undue hardship, and there are no other financial resources available, the individual with a disability must be given the option of providing the accommodation, or paying that portion of the cost which would constitute an undue hardship.
  4.     Written justification, signed by the president of the university, must be provided for any decision not to provide a reasonable accommodation because of undue hardship. The justification should demonstrate a consideration of requesting a loan from the disability accommodation revolving fund at the state department of personnel and will explore the practical and available limits of the university to draw upon resources available elsewhere within state government.

2-2.2.1.5.9 Grievance Procedure

  1.     Employees and applicants who believe that they have been discriminated against on the basis of disability may file grievances in the office for equal opportunity, room 211, Barge Hall (phone: 509-963-2205 or TDD 509-963-2207). Grievances may be pursued either formally or informally. See equal opportunity grievance procedure, CWU policy part 2-2.2.3.2.
  2.     A list of state and federal agencies which investigate alleged violations of state and federal nondiscrimination laws is included as an appendix to the university's grievance procedures.
  3.     The director of the office for equal opportunity is the university's ADA/504 compliance coordinator.