ADA Accommodations - Employees
Purpose and Scope:
The Board of Trustees under BP 3410 established a policy of non-discrimination and equal opportunity for persons with disabilities.
Discrimination based upon a person's actual or perceived disability is prohibited under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (Cal. Govt. Code § 12940), Cal. Code of Regulations. §7293 et seq., §504 of the Rehabilitation Act (1973), and the Americans with Disabilities Act (1990).
The law requires that the District must provide a reasonable accommodation for the known physical or mental limitations of an employee with a disability unless it can be shown that the accommodation would impose an undue hardship on the District. When an employee asks for an accommodation or when an employee's performance appears to be negatively affected by a known physical or mental disability, the District is required to engage in a timely, good faith, interactive process with the employee to determine whether a reasonable accommodation exists to enable the employee to perform his/her essential job functions. (See Appendix A for a list of terms and definitions).
Failure to provide a reasonable accommodation and/or failure to engage in good faith in the interactive process can result in liability to the District and personal liability to the supervisor/manager.
The determination of an effective accommodation is not solely the prerogative of the District. The law clearly means this to be the outcome of an immediate, good faith dialogue between the employee and the District as employer. As soon as a request for an accommodation is made by the employee, or as soon as a supervisor or manager of the District believes that a known disability is interfering with an employee's ability to perform adequately, the employee's suggestions or accommodation requests are to be elicited, given proper consideration, and discussed with the employee. This dialogue will continue until the request is finally resolved.
A reasonable accommodation is any modification or adjustment to a job, an employment practice, the routine work of the office, or the work environment that makes it possible for an individual with a disability to perform the essential functions of his/her job at the same level of performance as other employees or to enjoy the benefits and privileges of their employment. The obligation to provide a reasonable accommodation applies to all aspects of employment. This duty is ongoing and may arise any time that an employee acquires a disability, their disability changes, or their job changes. (Ca. Code of Regulations §7293.9)
A reasonable accommodation must be an effective accommodation. It should specifically address removal of barriers related to job performance or access to the benefits or privileges of employment. Accommodation is not required when requested for other reasons or is primarily for personal use. A reasonable accommodation need not be the best nor the only accommodation available, as long as it is effective for the purpose.
Process for Accommodating Employees with Disabilities
Step 1: Supervisor Level
- The employee should make a request for accommodation(s) either verbally or in writing to his/her immediate supervisor. Upon receipt of a request for an accommodation, the supervisor shall engage in the interactive process with the employee. Alternatively, in the event a supervisor identifies a possible accommodation issue that relates to job performance of an employee, the supervisor should privately and with discretion initiate the interactive process with the employee.
- The employee and supervisor will meet and determine what, if any, accommodations can be provided. The date and outcome of the meeting will be documented on the interactive process log of the Disability Accommodation Request form (APPENDIX C)
- The outcome of the meeting between the employee and supervisor recommending accommodations shall be summarized onto the Disability Accommodation Request form (Appendix B), signed by both parties and forwarded to the Manager.
- If the employee denies a need for accommodation or refuses to engage in the interactive process, this will be noted on Disability Accommodation Request form and forwarded to the Employment Manager with a copy to the Manager and to the employee.
Step 2: Manager Level
Upon receipt of Disability Accommodation Request form the Manager will evaluate the information. The Manager's immediate evaluation shall include the following:
- Whether the nature of the disability prevents the employee from performing one or more of the essential functions of the position.
- A consultation with the employee to discuss the essential functions of the positions and possible accommodations.
Managers are encouraged to consult with the Human Resources Employment Manager or the Risk Manager, as necessary, in making this initial evaluation.
- Verification of an employee's disabled status may require certification by the employee's physician. Certain conditions or impairments are excluded under the law. Before requiring certification from the physician, correct procedures for making such a request should be confirmed with Human Resources.
- Accommodation is only required to allow for the performance of a job at the same level as other employees. The standards for satisfactory performance are the manager's determination but must be applied uniformly. This may involve advice or consultation with outside resources.
- A preliminary determination of the most appropriate accommodation may find that a simple, even no cost, solution can be identified at the department level.
When the manager determines that a reasonable accommodation can be reached that is satisfactory to the employee and the District, steps shall be followed as described below.
- The manager shall complete the Disability Accommodation Request form, which shall describe the nature of the accommodation. The Manager and the employee shall sign the form as a record of the resolution of the employee's request. The original will be sent to Human Resources-Employment Manager, a copy given to the employee and a copy retained by the Manager.
Required funding, if any, should come through the site budget. If the College President or Assistant Chancellor supports the request for accommodation, and only if the site department budget cannot support the cost of the accommodation for the current fiscal year, the Employment Manager who serves as the Chair of the District Accommodation Committee shall be consulted.
Step 3: District's Accommodation Committee:
- The Manager shall request through Human Resources that the District's Accommodations Committee be convened if the manager cannot recommend a solution, or if the proposed solutions include any of the following:
Alteration of essential duties of the position.
Multiple administrative units must participate in the final solution.
The suggested accommodation is to seek another position outside the original department.
Accommodation may not be possible.
The District's Accommodations Committee shall be chaired by the Human Resource Employment Manager and shall include at least the site Manager, the Risk Manager and other resources as required.
The Committee shall:
Determine the status and nature of the disability,
Review the essential functions of the position,
Obtain assistance and advice as necessary from outside sources, e.g., Human Resources Classification Department, District Facilities Department, or Disabled Student Services' representatives; physicians, including the employee's physician; and consultants.
Make the final determination
The Committee shall endeavor to find a reasonable accommodation to the employee's request that is also consistent with the operational needs of the District. If the Disability Accommodations Committee finds an accommodation, Human Resources shall complete the Disability Accommodation Request form. The Manager and the employee shall sign the form as a record of the resolution of the employee's request. The Employment Manager will maintain the original and copies will be given to the Manager and employee. Required funding shall be handled as described above.
- If the Committee shall determine that granting an accommodation will cause "undue hardship" to the District, or determines that the employee, because of his or her physical or mental disability, is unable to perform his or her essential duties even with reasonable accommodations, or cannot perform those duties in a manner that would not endanger his or her health or safety or the health or safety of others even with reasonable accommodations, it shall so inform the Assistant Chancellor, Human Resources who will so advise the appropriate Cabinet Member.
- Human Resources shall, upon the exhaustion of all leaves, initiate a recommendation for separation under Education Code 88195 and 87732.
- If the disability arises from an industrial accident, for which a Workers' Compensation claim has been submitted and accepted, the Risk Manager shall inform the Workers' Compensation claims administrator the employee cannot be accommodated and that Vocational Rehabilitation benefits should be extended to the disabled employee in accordance with the appropriate provisions of the Labor Code.