URP: V.17.d Americans With Disabilities Act Policy

PURPOSE

This policy sets forth the commitment of Texas Woman’s University to nondiscrimination in the employment and hiring of persons with disabilities as defined in the Americans with Disabilities Act and as amended by the ADA Amendments Act of 2008.

POLICY

It is the policy of Texas Woman’s University (TWU) not to discriminate against qualified individuals with disabilities in regard to employment application procedures, hiring, advancement, discharge, compensation, training, or other terms, conditions and privileges of employment as defined under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the ADA Amendments Act of 2008, and the Texas Commission on Human Rights Act. Also covered is the Pregnancy Disability Act  clarifying that discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions, is a prohibited form of sex discrimination. It requires that employers treat women affected by pregnancy or related medical conditions the same as non-pregnant applicants or employees who are similar in their ability or inability to work.

ADA REQUIREMENTS IN HIGHER EDUCATION

Higher education institutions are subject to the ADA’s requirements.  Title III of the ADA requires that universities make reasonable modifications in their policies, unless the university can demonstrate that making such modifications would “fundamentally alter” the nature of the educational service being offered.  S. 3406 (ADAA) explicitly states that “nothing in this Act alters the [Title III fundamental alteration provision] specifying that reasonable modifications in policies, practices, or procedures shall be required, unless an entity can demonstrate that making such modifications in policies, practices, or procedures, including academic requirements in postsecondary education, would fundamentally alter the nature of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations involved.” 

DEFINITIONS

DisabilityAny actual, past, or perceived physical or mental impairment that substantially limits major life activities or major bodily functions.  A disabled person is defined as having a record of such impairment; or is regarded as having such impairment.  The definition also includes persons who have an impairment that is episodic or in remission, if the impairment would substantially limit a major life activity when active.

Direct Threat: A significant risk to the health, safety or well-being of individuals with disabilities or others when this risk cannot be eliminated by reasonable accommodation.

Essential Functions of a Position: Job activities that are determined by Texas Woman’s University to be essential or core to performing the job; these functions cannot be modified.

Major Life Activities: Activities including caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, working and the operation of a major bodily function, such as functions of the immune system, normal cell growth and digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine and reproductive functions.

Mitigating Measures:  The ameliorative effects of mitigating measures should not be considered in determining whether an individual has an impairment that substantially limits a major life activity.  An exception is made for “ordinary eyeglasses or contact lenses,” which may be taken into account.

Qualified Individual with a DisabilityAn individual with a disability who meets all the skills, experience, knowledge, educational and other job requirements for the position and can perform the essential functions of the position with or without reasonable accommodation is a qualified individual.

Reasonable Accommodation:  Modifications or adjustments to a job application process that enable a qualified applicant with a disability to be considered for the position he or she desires; modifications or adjustments  to the work environment, or to the manner or circumstances under which the position held or desired is customarily performed, that enable a qualified individual with a disability to perform the essential functions of that position; or modifications or adjustments that enable TWU  employees with a disability to enjoy equal benefits and privileges of employment as are enjoyed by other similarly situated employees without disabilities.

“Regarded As”:  The ADAAA provides that an individual is “regarded as” having a disability if the employee establishes that he/she has been discriminated against because of an actual or perceived physical or mental impairment. However, “regarded as” does not apply to transitory and minor impairments where the impairment is expected to last less than six months.  Employers are not required to provide a reasonable accommodation to individuals that are “regarded as disabled” but who do not actually have a disability.

"Undue Hardship": Undue hardship determination must be based on an individualized assessment of current circumstances and refers not only to financial difficulty, to accommodations that are unduly extensive, substantial, or disruptive,  those that would fundamentally alter the nature or operation of the business and to the effect on the safety of the requestor or other employees. Texas Woman’s University must assess on a case-by-case basis whether a particular reasonable accommodation would cause undue hardship.

PROCEDURES

An individual with a disability may request a reasonable accommodation at any time during the application process or during the period of employment. An individual should request a reasonable accommodation when he/she knows that there is a workplace barrier that is preventing him/her, from effectively competing for a position for which he/she is otherwise qualified, performing the essential functions of a position, or gaining equal access to a benefit of employment.

Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which went into effect over a decade after the PDA and was amended in 2008 to broaden the definition of disability, applies to individuals with pregnancy-related impairments.

The PDA clarifies that discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions, is a prohibited form of sex discrimination. It requires that employers treat women affected by pregnancy or related medical conditions the same as non-pregnant applicants or employees who are similar in their ability or inability to work.  Although pregnancy itself is not a disability, impairments related to pregnancy can be disabilities if they substantially limit one or more major life activities or substantially limited major life activities

Any individual requiring an accommodation must engage in an interactive process with Texas Woman’s University designated representatives:

  1. When an individual requests an accommodation at work for a reason related to a disability, the individual or his/her representative must discuss the request with the immediate supervisor and the ADA Coordinator.
  2. In addition, the individual is required to complete the Accommodation Request Form.  To request accommodation, an individual may use "plain English" and need not mention the ADA or use the phrase "reasonable accommodation." and
  3. Submit a copy of the above form to the ADA Coordinator.  

The employee requesting an accommodation will provide medical documentation on the Medical Inquiry Form in Response to an Accommodation Request, within a reasonable time from the date of the request.  The medical statement must contain a diagnosis, prognosis, and a description of the specific impairment(s), the major life functions or activities affected by the impairment and the degree of limitation to those functions and activities caused by the impairment, and the suggested and/or appropriate accommodations that should be considered. 

The ADA Coordinator and the individual with a disability will engage in an informal interactive process to clarify the individual’s needs and identify the appropriate reasonable accommodation.  The individual may be asked relevant questions that will enable the ADA Coordinator to make an informed decision about the request.

If an individual provides insufficient documentation on the initial request, the ADA Coordinator will explain why the documentation is insufficient and allow the individual an opportunity to provide the missing information in a timely manner. TWU Administrators will be unable to grant a request for accommodation unless all the requested medical information is provided.

The ADA Coordinator will analyze the request and confer with appropriate TWU personnel to determine a recommendation concerning the request for a reasonable accommodation.

In the event that there is some question as to the sufficiency of the information provided by the employee and his/her treating physician to substantiate that he/she has an ADA disability and needs a reasonable accommodation, the university may require an individual to go to an appropriate health professional of the employer's choice and at the employer’s expense.

Requests for accommodation will be evaluated without regard to the measures used to mitigate or manage impairments. Mitigating measures other than "ordinary eyeglasses or contact lenses" will not be considered in assessing whether an individual has a disability.

Decisions on requests for impairments that are episodic or in remission are based upon the current effects of the impairment and also on the effects if/when the impairment is in an active state.

ADA accommodation requests that do not meet the legal definition of an ADA covered accommodation as outlined in this policy may still be considered.  These requests will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis and, at the discretion of university administrators, an accommodation may be agreed upon.

ACCOMMODATION

TWU will reasonably accommodate qualified individuals with a disability so that they can perform the essential functions of a position unless doing so causes a direct threat to these individuals or others in the workplace and the threat cannot be eliminated by reasonable accommodation or if the accommodation creates an undue hardship.

All employees are required to comply with safety standards. Current employees who pose a direct threat to the health or safety of themselves or other individuals in the workplace will be placed on leave until a decision has been made in regard to the employee’s immediate employment situation.

If university administrators believe that a requested accommodation would constitute undue hardship on the university, a written statement of explanation must be submitted to the ADA Officer or his/her designee.

CONFIDENTIALITY OF RECORDS

All offices and individuals responsible for reviewing and analyzing the accommodation request will maintain the confidentiality of all medical and ADA information. Records must be kept separate from personnel files and will be accessible only to authorized personnel.

PERIODIC REVIEW

If a reasonable workplace accommodation is implemented, the ADA Officer, or his/her designee, will periodically confer with the employee with the disability to determine whether the workplace accommodation should be continued.

COMPLAINTS

Any individual who believes that he or she has been denied a reasonable accommodation, has been discriminated against on the basis of disability, or has been retaliated against due to an accommodation request should first submit a written complaint to the ADA Officer.  If a satisfactory resolution is not reached in this process the individual may initiate a grievance in accordance with the TWU Grievance Procedures Related to Title IX – Faculty and Staff.

REVIEW

The Vice President for Finance and Administration will review this Policy with recommendations forwarded through normal administrative channels to the Chancellor and President.

ADA Accommodation Request

ADA Hiring Guide

Medical Inquiry Form in Response to an Accommodation Request

Details

Article ID: 40227
Created
Thu 10/5/17 1:40 PM
Modified
Fri 2/15/19 9:01 AM