Original Issuance Date: July 1, 2017
Last Revision Date: December 6, 2023
1. Procedure Purpose
The purpose of this procedure is to outline UWSA’s reasonable accommodation procedures.
2. Responsible UW System Officer
Senior Associate Vice President & Chief Human Resource Officer
This procedure governs UWSA’s efforts to ensure that people with disabilities are provided with reasonable accommodations.
UWSA adopted a policy and related procedures under which it has provided reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities in all aspects of the employment process. The procedures, which are included in three UWSA website postings, are consistent with Practice Directive EEO A, Accommodations for Individuals with Disabilities, with RPD 14-10, Nondiscrimination on Basis of Disability, and with the ADA and other applicable laws. The Office of General Counsel’s legal topic ADA – Employment explains the applicable laws under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 that prohibit discrimination on the basis of a qualified disability and require employers to provide reasonable accommodations (42 U.S.C. § 12101).
Disability: A mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of such individual; a record of such impairment; or being regarded as having such an impairment.
Major life activities: Functions such as caring for one’s self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working. A major life activity also includes the operation of a major bodily function including, but not limited to, functions of the immune system, normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, and reproductive functions.
Qualified individual with a disability: An individual with a disability who satisfies the requisite skill, experience, education and other job-related requirements of the employment position such individual holds or desires, and who, with or without reasonable accommodation, can perform the essential functions of such position.
Reasonable accommodation: A modification or adjustment to a job, the work environment, the job application process, or the way things are usually done that enables a qualified individual with a disability to perform the essential functions of the job and to enjoy an equal employment opportunity. A reasonable accommodation includes, but is not limited to, making facilities accessible, adjusting work schedules, restructuring jobs, providing assisting devices or equipment, providing readers or interpreters, and modifying examinations, training materials or policies.
Undue Hardship: Any action that is unduly costly, extensive, or disruptive. An employer is not required to make an accommodation if it would impose an undue hardship.
6. Procedure Statement
The UWSA procedures for providing reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals are outlined below.
A. Requesting Accommodations
1. Applicants for Employment
- All UW System Administration position announcements will contain the statement, “It is the policy of the University of Wisconsin System Administration to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with a disability who are applicants for employment or employees.”
- Each applicant invited for an interview should again be informed of the University of Wisconsin System Administration policy requiring the provision of reasonable accommodations in the hiring process, and how to make a request.
- All applicants should make requests for accommodations through the contact person identified in the vacancy announcement. When an applicant with a disability requests an accommodation, the University of Wisconsin System Administration must modify or adjust the job application process to make reasonable accommodation to the known physical or mental limitations of the applicant to enable full consideration of the applicant.
- Each applicant is responsible for making timely and complete disclosures and specific requests regarding accommodations to meet his or her particular needs in order to enable System Administration to provide an appropriate response. It is strongly recommended that requests be made as soon as possible to avoid delays in providing reasonable accommodations.
- An interviewer may not ask an applicant whether or not the applicant has a disability. This includes both physical and psychological disabilities. If the applicant volunteers information about a disability, the interviewer shall not ask any questions relating to the nature or extent of the disability or whether treatment will be necessary.
- With respect to the ability to perform required job duties, an interviewer may ask each applicant whether he or she is able to perform the essential functions of the job with or without reasonable accommodation.
- If an applicant indicates in response to such an inquiry that he or she can perform the essential functions of the job but does not comment on the need for accommodation, then the interviewer shall not inquire about the need for an accommodation.
- If, the applicant indicates that he or she can perform the essential functions of the job and does volunteer the need for an accommodation, the interviewer may ask the applicant how he or she will perform the essential functions of the position and what accommodation will be necessary.
- Qualified applicants cannot be denied employment solely on the basis of a need to provide a reasonable accommodation.
- An applicant who has received a job offer and now needs a disability accommodation should request the accommodation by submitting the UWSA Request for Reasonable Accommodation form. If the applicant’s disability cannot be reasonably accommodated, the offer can be rescinded.
2. Current Employees or Applicants Offered Jobs
- To request a reasonable accommodation, an employee or applicant offered a job is required to submit a written statement to the UW System Administration ADA Coordinator. The written statement must identify the nature of the claimed physical or mental disability, identify the functional limitations with respect to the disability, and identify the requested accommodation(s). If practicable, the employee should complete the UWSA Request for Reasonable Accommodation Form.
- An individual who identifies themself as having a disability and requests a reasonable accommodation may be required to provide documentation, including medical records, sufficient to establish the existence of the claimed physical or mental impairment and the need for accommodation. The information should be appropriately current and have been prepared by a qualified professional. The employee or applicant offered a job must bear the cost of this initial disability verification.
- The University of Wisconsin System Administration may require an employee or applicant offered a job who requests a reasonable accommodation to undergo further testing or evaluation by qualified professionals to verify or further establish the claimed disability, the need for an accommodation, and to provide a basis upon which a reasonable accommodation can be developed or implemented. The cost of such evaluation will be paid by UW System Administration.
- If an employee is having difficulty performing his or her job, the supervisor, in consultation with the ADA Coordinator, should inform the employee of the UW System Administration policy to provide reasonable accommodations. If the employee requests a reasonable accommodation, these procedures shall apply. However, if the employee does not request an accommodation, an accommodation will not be offered or provided.
- After an accommodation is provided, the employee and their supervisor shall evaluate the effectiveness of the accommodation, consulting with the ADA Coordinator as necessary. If modifications to the accommodation are needed, they should be requested using these formal procedures.
B. Providing Accommodations – Decision Making Procedures
- Each request for an accommodation should be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. The employee or applicant will be involved in the process of determining potential reasonable accommodations.
- The UWSA ADA Coordinator, in consultation with the employee’s or the applicant’s supervisor, will make the decision to approve or deny an accommodation request.
- The decision to approve or deny an accommodation request must be made by the ADA Coordinator. If an accommodation request is denied, the written decision must inform the employee or applicant of the appeal procedures available as listed in Section C of these procedures.
- Where there is more than one effective accommodation, the final decision as to which accommodation to provide shall be made by System Administration after consideration of the wishes of the individual, the documentation provided, and advice from other appropriate personnel.
- A qualified individual with a disability is not required to accept an accommodation, aid, service, opportunity or benefit. However, if such individual rejects a reasonable accommodation, aid, service, opportunity or benefit that is necessary to enable the individual to perform the essential functions of the position held or desired, and as a result of that rejection, cannot perform the essential functions of the position, the individual will not be considered a qualified individual with a disability.
- System Administration does not provide individuals with disabilities with personal devices or assistance for personal use, including but not limited to wheelchairs, eye glasses, hearing aids, personal assistance for eating or dressing, or readers for personal use.
- \When no reasonable accommodation is available to allow an employee with a disability to remain in his or her current position, System Administration will attempt to reassign that employee to a vacant position, which is equivalent in terms of pay and status. The employee must be qualified for the vacant position and the position must be vacant or will be vacant within a reasonable period of time. Assignment to another vacant position is available only to employees.
- All material and information collected from an applicant or employee regarding the individual’s accommodation request shall be considered confidential information and be kept in a separate file. Upon completion of the decision-making process regarding the accommodation request, all material collected will be kept in a separate, locked file by the ADA Coordinator. This information will be confidential with the following exceptions:
- Supervisors and managers may be informed regarding necessary accommodations or necessary restrictions on the work or duties of the employee;
- First aid and safety personnel may be informed, when appropriate, if the disability might require alternative actions in emergency situations; and
- Government officials investigating compliance with non-discrimination laws will be provided relevant information on request.
- If the employee completes the Request for Reasonable Accommodation Form, the person who makes the decision regarding whether the request is approved, modified or denied must complete the employer section of the form.
C. Appeal Process
- If an applicant, an applicant offered a job, or an employee disagrees with a decision regarding his or her request for an accommodation, an appeal may be filed with the Associate Vice President & Chief Human Resource Officer pursuant to the following internal appeal procedure:
- Appeals filed pursuant to this internal procedure must be filed within fifteen (15) working days of the date of the decision as shown on the UWSA Reasonable Accommodation Request Form. Individuals wishing to file such an appeal should immediately contact the office of the Associate Vice President & Chief Human Resource Officer for information on the appropriate process.
- Use of this internal appeal procedure is not a prerequisite to the pursuit of other remedies.
- At anytime, an individual may pursue other remedies available to him or her under applicable state law or federal law. An employee may contact UW System Human Resources to obtain information on existing complaint/grievance resolution processes.
D. Accommodations for Pregnancy, Childbirth and Related Conditions
- Pursuant to the requirements of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA), UWSA shall provide reasonable accommodations to a worker’s known limitations related to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions, unless the accommodation will cause an undue hardship. The procedure for granting accommodations under this section will be same as defined above in this procedure, with the following additions/provisions:
- The following definitions shall apply to this procedure section:
- “Known limitation” means physical or mental condition related to, affected by, or arising out of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions that the employee or employee’s representative has communicated to UWSA whether or not such condition meets the definition of disability under the ADA.
- “Qualified employee” means an employee or applicant who, with or without reasonable accommodation, can perform the essential functions of the employment position, except that an employee or applicant shall be considered qualified if—
- any inability to perform an essential function is for a temporary period;
- the essential function could be performed in the near future; and
- the inability to perform the essential function can be reasonably accommodated.
- Special rules for accommodations under this section:
- An employee shall not be required to accept an accommodation under this procedure section, other than an accommodation arrived at through the interactive process described in Section 6 B.1 of this procedure.
- UWSA shall not deny employment opportunities to a qualified employee if such denial is based on the need to make reasonable accommodations to the known limitations related to the pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions of the qualified employee.
- UWSA shall not require a qualified employee to take leave, whether paid or unpaid, if another reasonable accommodation can be provided to the known limitations related to the pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions of the qualified employee.
- UWSA shall not discriminate or retaliate against any employee for requesting or using any accommodations under this procedure. UWSA shall not discriminate or retaliate against any employee for aiding or encouraging another employee to exercise any right under this procedure.
- The following definitions shall apply to this procedure section:
- Accommodations for Nursing Employees
- UWSA shall provide:
- A reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for such employee’s nursing child for 1 year after the child’s birth each time such employee has need to express the milk; and
- A place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public, which may be used by an employee to express breast milk.
- The nursing breaks required under section 6.D.2.i, above, do not create a new paid leave entitlement for the employee. For FLSA nonexempt employees, if the employee is completely relieved from duty during the break, then the break period is not considered paid work time. If the employee is not completely relieved from duty during the break, then the employee is paid for the time as normal. Employees are entitled to use any available paid leave during a qualifying unpaid nursing break. When an employee’s department provides short paid breaks (e.g. coffee breaks), an employee who uses such break time to pump breast milk must be compensated in the same way that other employees are compensated for break time.
- UWSA shall provide:
7. Related Documents
8. Procedure History
Revision 2: December 6, 2023
Revision 1: June 10, 2018
First approved: July 1, 2017
9. Scheduled Review