Reasonable Accommodations Procedure – Employees and Applicants
Gratz College has a desire and a legal and educational obligation to provide equal access to College’s resources, coursework, programs, and activities as well as employment opportunities for all qualified individuals in compliance with federal disability law, including the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA), and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. These laws provide a framework for qualified individuals with documented disabilities to request reasonable accommodations needed to participate in a program or place of employment.
This regulation establishes the process and the appeal procedures for which the HR Representative establishes disability eligibility criteria, makes disability eligibility determinations, and establishes appropriate Reasonable Accommodations.
III. Reasonable Accommodations
Reasonable accommodations are defined as adjustments or modifications that enable a qualified individual with a documented disability to participate as fully as possible in a place of employment. A reasonable accommodation is any change to the job, the work environment, or the way things are customarily done that allows an individual with a disability to apply for a job, perform job functions, or enjoy equal access to benefits available to other individuals in the workplace. Reasonable accommodations may include changes to activities, events, or work environment so long as it does not modify essential functions of the job or result in undue financial or administrative hardship on the institution.
An institution is not required to lower production standards to make an accommodation; nor is an employer obligated to provide personal use items such as glasses or hearing aids.
Reasonable accommodations are distinguished from services of a personal nature, which Gratz College does not provide, but the employee/applicant may choose to employ. Such services of a personal nature may include personal assistants.
Examples of covered conditions under this policy include, but are not limited to: Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD); autism spectrum disorders (ASD); chronic medical conditions (cystic fibrosis, diabetes); learning disabilities; mental health disorders (bipolar disorder, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder); mobility disabilities (use of wheelchair or other assistive device); neurological disorders (traumatic brain injury, epilepsy, motor or tic disorders); orthopedic disabilities (bone or muscle disorders, connective tissue disorders); and sensory disabilities (hearing, vision).
Temporary Medical Conditions (TMC) such as injuries, acute illnesses, surgeries, pregnancy and/or related medical conditions, and breastfeeding and expelling breast milk, may not qualify as permanent disabling conditions. However, the College does provide assistance to employees/applicants and guidance on working with a temporary medical condition while working at Gratz College.
IV. Procedures to Request an Accommodation - Employee or Applicant for Employment
The following are the steps that an applicant for employment or employee should take to request a reasonable accommodation at the College. All forms and documents are located online.
I. Otherwise Qualified Individual with a Disability Determination
- An employee or applicant for employment who may require a Reasonable Accommodation(s) must first be determined as an Otherwise Qualified Individual with a Disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and Amendments Act of 2008 (“ADA”) or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (“Section 504”).
- Employees and applicants are required to provide the information identified on the Employee Accommodation Request Documentation Guidelines.
- Employees and applicants must complete an Employee Request for Accommodation Form and return it to the HR Representative.
In instances where the requested accommodation may alter an essential function of the job, the College’s determination regarding the request will be made by College employees who are trained, knowledgeable, and experienced in the work requirements of the specific job using a careful review of the job requirements, taking into account possible alternatives for the essential requirement, as well as whether the essential requirement in question can be modified for a specific employee with a disability and/or temporary medical condition.
Information and documentation received by the HR Representative is confidential, to the extent required by law, and is used for the sole purpose of determining eligibility for accommodations and coordinating services requested. Pertinent aspects of the information will be disclosed for discussion for determining appropriate accommodation(s). The Authorization for Release of Medical Information also serves as a release form allowing discussions to take place between the ADA Coordinator, Section 504 Coordinator, and the medical provider where appropriate or applicable. Disability-related information, including submitted documentation, is maintained in the Administrative Offices until the employee is separated from the College.
The HR representative may require additional or new documentation if the original documentation presented is outdated, vague, incomplete, or does not meet the Documentation Guidelines.
III. Reasonable Accommodation Determination
The determination of a Reasonable Accommodation will be made as soon as it is feasible, after the application for job accommodations request and appropriate disability documentation have been submitted to and reviewed by the HR Representative and any other individuals identified as appropriate.
IV. Reasonable Accommodation(s) Interactive Process
If the HR Representative determines that an employee or applicant for employment is an Otherwise Qualified Individual with a disability under ADA and/or Section 504, reasonable accommodations will be discussed with the employee. The HR Representative will engage in an interactive process with the employee or applicant, and as necessary, relevant College officials (e.g., supervisors, etc.) and others to determine the appropriate accommodation(s).
- Once the Employee Request for Accommodation Form is received, the HR representative will reach out to the employee or applicant via email to schedule a time to discuss the process.
- During the interactive process, the HR Representative may communicate with appropriate offices and individuals at the College before a determined Reasonable Accommodation can be fully implemented.
- See “Responsibilities” section below for each participant’s role in the process.
Please note that an employee or applicant for employment with a disability is still responsible for adhering to the respective Personnel Practices Code (PPC).
V. Appeal Process
- An employee or applicant for employment who feels as though they have been denied a reasonable accommodation or is dissatisfied with the determination that they are not eligible as an Otherwise Qualified Individual may appeal in writing using the following process.
- Must appeal within five business days (5) of notification of the denial to the Section 504 Coordinator, Philip Moore, EdD, MFA, at Section504@gratz.edu.
- The Section 504 Coordinator will schedule meeting(s) with the various individuals involved in the process. The Section 504 Coordinator will render a decision in writing. The decision of the Section 504 Coordinator is final.
VI. Complaint to the Office for Civil Rights (OCR)
The availability and use of this Gratz College Appeal Process does not prevent an employee or applicant for employment from filing a complaint of discrimination with external agencies such as the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (OCR). That office will determine whether a further investigation is warranted.
Information about how to file a complaint with OCR can be obtained from: How to File a Discrimination Complaint with the Office for Civil Rights (ed.gov)
VII. Timely Notice
Employees are advised to notify the HR Representative as soon they have established a need for accommodations or at the earliest indication of emerging accommodation needs.
VIII. Accommodation Modifications
An employee may make a written request to the College’s HR Representative to modify an established Reasonable Accommodation or request an alternative accommodation. The request will be considered using the procedure described above. Upon request, the HR Representative will work to coordinate and provide new accommodations or modifications to existing accommodations in a timely manner.
IX. Reasonable Accommodations Memo
Once the appropriate forms and documentation are received, and an employee is approved for reasonable accommodations, the HR Representative will issue a memo to the employee and their supervisor.
Section 504 Coordinator: The College’s Section 504 Coordinator is the 34 CFR § 104.7(a) designee that coordinates the College’s overall efforts to comply with the ADA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, as amended (1998). The Section 504 Coordinator reviews concerns and appeals of eligibility determinations and Reasonable Accommodation determinations for employees or applicants for employment.
Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and Amendments Act of 2008 (“ADA”): Federal anti-discrimination law that protects the rights of qualified individuals with a disability.
Disability: The term “disability” means, with respect to an individual: a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major activities of such an individual; a record of such impairment; or being regarded as having such impairment.
Essential Job Functions: The primary job functions or tasks that an individual must be able to perform with or without a Reasonable Accommodation. Essential job functions can be discussed with the HR Representative.
Otherwise Qualified Individual with a Disability: Individuals who meet essential disability eligibility requirements.
Reasonable Accommodation: Modifying a job process or work environment to enable an otherwise qualified individual with a disability to perform the essential functions of the job.
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (1998): Federal law that states that no otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the United States shall, solely by reason of his or her disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.
Undue Hardship: is defined as an action requiring significant difficulty or expense when considered in light of factors such as an employer's size, financial resources, and the nature and structure of its operation.
Working Days: Days when the College is open for business.
Section 504 Coordinator Responsibilities:
- Reviews concerns and appeals of eligibility determinations and Reasonable Accommodation determinations for employees or applicants for employment in accordance with this regulation.
- Evaluates the College’s decisions in accordance with applicable guidelines under the ADA and Section 504.
- Determines whether the College has erred in its decision to deny eligibility or Reasonable Accommodation and communicates with both the College and employees or applicants for employment in a timely fashion.
HR Representative Responsibilities:
- Evaluate disability documentation in determining if an individual is an Otherwise Qualified Individual with a Disability under the criteria of this regulation, the ADA and Section 504.
- Set forth criteria in determining disability documentation.
- Determine eligibility for Reasonable Accommodation(s).
- Discussion of Essential Job Functions/job description and the individual’s ability to perform those functions as listed under the job title.
- Discuss Reasonable Accommodation(s) with the employee.
- Discuss Reasonable Accommodation(s) with the employee’s Supervisor.
- Identify and document the Reasonable Accommodation(s) agreed upon by the employee and the Employee’s Supervisor.
- Oversee the process in a timely fashion.
- Facilitate the resolution of appeals regarding Reasonable Accommodations.
- Must self-identify as an individual with a disability to the HR Representative.
- Provide disability documentation to the HR Representative.
- Provide completed request form for job accommodations to the HR Representative for request for services. Include specific job accommodations needed to perform essential job functions.
- If an employee self identifies as an individual with a disability or makes a request for an accommodation or job modification, the Supervisor will refer the employee to the HR Representative to review the job accommodation process.
- Encourage the individual to seek assistance with the HR Representative to document the need for accommodation.
VII. Institutional Contact Information
Please contact the individuals listed below if you have questions or concerns about services for an individual with a disability, means of accommodating, verification of a disability, or your responsibility for responding to the needs of individuals with disabilities:
- ADA Coordinator, Naomi Housman, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Manager of Business Operations, Thomas Cipriano, at email@example.com.
- Section 504 Coordinator, Philip Moore, at Section504@gratz.edu
For more information, pleases visit Accessibility Services - Gratz College.