The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) makes it unlawful to discriminate in employment against a qualified individual with a disability. To be protected under the ADA, an individual must have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a record of such an impairment; or being regarded as having a substantial impairment.
What is a reasonable accommodation? A reasonable accommodation is any change or adjustment to a job or work environment that does not cause an undue hardship on the department or unit and which permits a qualified applicant or employee with a disability to participate in the job the application process, to perform the essential functions of a job, or to enjoy benefits and privileges of employment equal to those enjoyed by employees without disabilities.
The Interactive Process
Each disability accommodation request is different and unique. Consequently, every request is analyzed and processed on a case-by-case basis. However, the general steps of the interactive process typically follow those described below. Anyone involved in the interactive process should not hesitate to ask questions at any point during the process.
The Office for Accessibility and Gender Equity does not share medical information provided by the employee with the department or unit in which they work. The Office will only share information regarding the accommodation requested.
- Employee- complete the reasonable accommodation request form. If the completion of this form is difficult, contact the Office for Accessibility and Gender Equity for a verbal request. This form must be submitted along with the medical provider's certification of the employee's disability. There are no “magic words” required to make a request but the employee must initiate the request in writing or verbally. Third-party requests will only be accepted when authorized by the employee/applicant in writing. The employee seeking an accommodation and using a third-party designee will submit in writing the contact information for the designee and sign and date the request.
- The forms once completed should be submitted to the Office for Accessibility and Gender Equity. The reasonable accommodation request form can be submitted electronically, faxed, or mailed. Once a form is submitted or a verbal request is made, the Office for Accessibility and Gender Equity will assign the request to the appropriate ADA representative.
- Office for Accessibility and Gender Equity | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Fax: (352) 392-5268
- The ADA Case Manager will make an initial review of the accommodation request and make notes of any additional documentation that is needed to move forward. Initial contact will be made to the employee by either phone, email, or letter.
- Communication (either virtually or in-person) will take place with the ADA Case Manager: with the employee and with the employee’s supervisor (or designee) and the unit’s HR Liaison.
- A written response will be provided for each request once the interactive process is concluded. The disposition of each request will be either approved, modified, or, denied with reasons. This written response will be submitted to all those who attended the accommodation meeting.
- Written confirmation of receipt of request – upon receipt of the accommodation request, a notification will be provided to the employee requesting an accommodation by either email, phone call, or letter.
- Time frame for processing requests – depending upon the circumstances, each employee’s request will be handled as expeditiously as possible. For those cases where medical documentation is forthcoming or when special equipment or construction is required each case will be handled on a one-to-one basis with the goal of not exceeding 30 working days.