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Employee Accommodations

STUDENTS WITH PAID EMPLOYMENT AT WVSU

Students with paid employment at West Virginia State University who wish to explore reasonable accommodation within their employment should follow the process outlined below for Faculty & Staff.
 

For academic, housing or other accommodation requests students should contact Counseling and Accessibility Services (CAS) to initiate the reasonable accommodation exploration process. 


FACULTY AND STAFF

ADA Accommodation Request Process

West Virginia State University (University) is required by law to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified employees with disabilities. The University’s ADA Coordinator (Justin Cherry) is charged with coordinating the University’s compliance with the employment provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act, as amended (ADA). University employees with a qualifying condition are evaluated for workplace accommodations under Title I of the ADA.
 

Having a medical condition alone is not enough to make someone eligible for accommodation under the ADA. Under the ADA, an individual with a disability is someone with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, has a record of such an impairment, or is regarded as having such an impairment. To have an “actual” disability (or to have a “record of” a disability) an individual must be (or have been) substantially limited in performing a major life activity as compared to most people in the general population.

Initiating the Accommodation Process

Employees seeking workplace accommodation(s) are responsible for initiating contact with and requesting information regarding accommodations. Employees interested in workplace accommodations should call or email the Human Resource Office to request the paperwork to start the accommodation process.
 

An employee may request a reasonable accommodation at any time, either orally or in writing. A request does not have to include any specific words, such as “reasonable accommodation,” “disability,” or “Americans with Disabilities Act.” A request is any communication in which an individual asks or states that s/he needs the University to provide or to change something because of a medical condition. A supervisor, manager, or HR Rep will ask an individual whether s/he is requesting a reasonable accommodation if the nature of the initial communication is unclear. Supervisors who receive a request for accommodation should refer the employee to the University's ADA Coordinator, Justin Cherry, Assistant Vice President of Business and Human Resources.
 

Although employees may initially consult with HR without first informing his or her supervisor, supervisors are an important part of the process and will be brought into the discussion about the specific impact of the medical condition on job performance and recommended accommodations.

It is important to note that in having this discussion, HR does not share the medical diagnosis or disability documentation with the supervisor, but rather maintains the focus on the limitations of the condition(s) and suggested accommodations.

Processing the Request

When an employee indicates there is a need for an accommodation, HR will provide the individual with the necessary paperwork to be completed. University employees can also access and print the necessary paperwork for an ADA accommodation by visiting the Employee Accommodations page. In order to determine whether an employee is eligible for accommodations under the ADA, he or she will need to provide written documentation from their licensed health care provider concerning their disability.
 

After receiving the documentation from the employee’s health care provider, the ADA Coordinator will review the medical information to determine its adequacy. If the information provided is incomplete, unclear or inconsistent, the ADA Coordinator may request that the employee obtain additional or clarifying information from their healthcare provider.

Interactive Process

Once an employee has provided the necessary paperwork to facilitate an accommodation request, the ADA Coordinator will initiate the interactive process.
 

The accommodation process is a collaborative and interactive process between the ADA Coordinator, the employee seeking accommodations, the employee’s supervisor, and/or other appropriate personnel (including Human Resource personnel and Benefits).
 

Once an employee has submitted his or her completed ADA paperwork, the ADA Coordinator will reach out to schedule a time to meet with him or her. Communication is a priority throughout the entire process, but particularly when the specific limitation, problem, or barrier is unclear; when an effective accommodation is not obvious; or when the parties are considering different forms of reasonable accommodation. After meeting with an employee, the ADA Coordinator will reach out to the employee’s supervisor to discuss the accommodations being requested and explore the feasibility of their implementation.
 

The ADA Coordinator work collaboratively with both the employee and the supervisor to identify a mutually agreeable accommodation that will provide the employee with the opportunity to be successful. Finding an accommodation that has the support of both the employee and his or her supervisor helps to ensure a successful and sustainable outcome.

What is Reasonable?

The decision as to the appropriate (reasonable) accommodation is made on a case-by-case basis. The principal test is that of effectiveness; whether the accommodation will provide an opportunity for a person with a disability to achieve the same level of performance and to enjoy benefits equal to those of an average similar-situated person without a disability.


Actions that are not required or reasonable include:
 

  • Lowering production or performance standards
  • Excusing violations of conduct rules that are job-related and consistent with business necessity
  • Removing an essential function
  • Monitoring an employee’s use of medication
  • Actions that would result in undue hardship (i.e. significant difficulty or expense)
  • Restructuring working hours so they fall far outside the obligations of an employee’s unit and/or position. Some positions require employees to be on campus at all times and/or at certain hours and may not have as much flexibility to accommodate requests for changes
  • Requests that will disrupt the University’s mission to achieve excellence in the interrelated areas of undergraduate education, graduate education, research and public service

Determination

After meeting with both the employee and their supervisor, separately, the ADA Coordinator will coordinate a meeting with both the employee and the supervisor to discuss accommodations agreed upon and determine if the accommodations are reasonable. The next step is to draft an approval of accommodation form for the employee. The approval form will:

  1. Outline the accommodation(s) being provided
  2. List expectations related to the implementation of the accommodation(s)
  3. Provide a timeframe for when the accommodations will be reviewed to determine their effectiveness
  4. List the names of those who were party to the accommodation process and are involved in the implementation of the approved accommodations, including supervisors.

There may be instances in which there is no reasonable accommodation that enables the employee to perform the essential functions of his/her job. Although there is a requirement to facilitate the interactive process and to explore whether or not there is a reasonable accommodation, there is no requirement to provide the exact accommodation requested by the individual or to remove an essential function of the position. Any West Virginia State University employee / applicant who wishes to appeal the determination of the employee's / applicant’s request for a reasonable accommodation, should follow the instructions on the Reasonable Accommodation Appeal Form

Confidentiality Requirements

Any records or information obtained by the ADA Coordinator as a part of the accommodation process that reflects diagnosis, evaluation, or treatment of an employee’s medical or mental health condition are considered confidential and maintained by Human Resources. Such records shall be shared with only those University employees who have a need to know in order to implement the accommodation process and shall not be released except as required by law. ADA related files are kept separate and apart from the location of personnel files and access is limited to the ADA Coordinator and HR personnel.
 

The ADA Coordinator will not disclose the diagnostic or treatment information (including the ADA file) of employees participating in the accommodation process. There are, however, instances when the aforementioned information is shared with certain individuals such as Human Resource personnel, first aid and safety personnel, or University personnel investigating compliance with the ADA (including EEO Officer, ADA Coordinator, & Legal).
 

The knowledge that an employee has an approved workplace accommodation is limited to those involved in the accommodation process. Supervisors and staff involved should take care to maintain confidentiality. Faculty with accommodations related to their building assignment need to be aware that the ADA Coordinator will also inform their department’s course scheduler and the Registrar’s Office of the approved accommodation.

Parking on Campus for Individuals with Disabilities

To park in an ADA space on campus, faculty and staff must have a state-issued ADA placard or license plate (permanent or temporary).
 

REMEMBER:

There is no “one size fits all” approach. Many reasonable accommodations may appear to be common sense-like a better fitting chair, or a larger computer monitor, but some accommodations are more complex. All accommodations have the same goal: to make WVSU employees successful and motivated in the workplace.
 

Initiating the Accommodation Process

Employees interested in a workplace accommodation can call or email the Department of Human Resources to request the paperwork to start the accommodation process.

Required Paperwork

In order to determine whether an employee is eligible for accommodations under the ADA, he or she will need to provide written documentation from their licensed health care provider concerning their disability. Below is a list of the paperwork employees will need to complete to begin the accommodation process:

  1. ADA Reasonable Accommodation Request Form (employee must complete and return to ADA Coordinator)
  2. ADA Medical Release Form (employee must complete and return to ADA Coordinator)


Questions about your rights as an employee/individual with disability?

Dr. Carolyn Stuart, EEO Compliance Officer/Title IX Coordinator has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies. Dr. Stuart can be reached at: 416 Wallace Hall; Institute, WV 25112, or by calling (304) 204-4018.

Human Resources

Phone:                       304-766-3156
Fax:                             304-766-4156
Campus Address:   105 Cole Complex
Hours:                        Monday - Friday
                                     8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.


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