Resources for Employees
Information for Employees:
The ADA is a non-discrimination law and the purpose of reasonable accommodations is to enable the prospective or current employee with a disability to perform a job. The University of Delaware is not required to give preferential treatment to individuals with disabilities or lessen qualification standards. The law does require that the University consider reasonable modifications regarding how qualified individuals with disabilities demonstrate their abilities and skills. The responsibility to provide reasonable accommodations falls into these three categories:
- Equal opportunity in the application process.
- Enabling workers with disabilities to perform essential job functions.
- Enabling workers with disabilities to enjoy the same benefits and privileges of employment as enjoyed by workers without disabilities.
The University of Delaware does not exclude persons with disabilities and believes that people should be treated fairly and given opportunities equal to those of others working or seeking to work here. If you need a reasonable accommodation in any aspect of the job application process, please notify the Office of Human Resources at http://www.udel.edu/hr.
Alternative classroom and office arrangements
The DSS office works with the Registrar to accommodate students and student paraprofessionals with mobility or vision related disabilities to have access to accessible classrooms and offices. Accessibility in classrooms and offices includes: room entrance accessibility; accessible equipment and furniture; speaker systems; close to board seating; etc.
The purpose of the ADA is to protect people with known disabilities from discrimination in employment and requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations. The University administration and all supervisory personnel are responsible for maintaining a work environment free of discrimination against persons with disabilities. More information about the ADA is available from: http://www.jan.wvu.edu/media/adahandbook/handbook.html.
Title 1 of the ADA protects "qualified employees with disabilities". You must meet the skill, experience, education and other job related requirements of the position you currently hold or are trying to obtain and you must be able to perform the essential functions of the position, with or without reasonable accommodations. For information about essential functions, please view: http://www.jan.wvu.edu/links/ADAtam1.html.
To have a disability you must be a person who 1) has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, 2) has a record of a physical or mental impairment or 3) is regarded as having a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. For information about determining whether a person has a disability under the ADA, please visit http://www.jan.wvu.edu/corner/vol02iss04.htm.
If you need a reasonable accommodation to perform your job duties here are the steps you and your supervisor or employer should take:
- Request an accommodation. It is your responsibility to inform your supervisor or employer that you need an accommodation to perform essential job functions or to receive equal benefits of employment. It does not have to be in writing, although that is encouraged. You also don't have to mention that you need a "reasonable accommodation," plain English is acceptable.
- Engage in an interactive process. Your employer or supervisor should meet with you and discuss your request in an interactive process. This is to clarify what you need and to help identify what is reasonable. You need to be prepared to discuss what barriers you are facing in the workplace. If your disability is not obvious, your employer can ask for medical documentation to establish that you have a disability that is covered under the ADA, to show that you need the accommodation and to determine what is effective. This documentation is to be kept separate from personnel records and can only be released to others on a "need to know" basis. This documentation can be submitted to the DSS office. It is treated as confidential information. The DSS Director is available to meet with employees and supervisors to assist in this process.
- Conduct a job analysis. Your supervisor or employer needs to look at the specific job and how the tasks, work environment, equipment or policies are creating barriers because of the disability. Then your ability to perform the essential aspects of the job is revised. Your supervisor, with your input, determines whether there are reasonable accommodations to help you do your job. Marginal aspects of your job are not considered, only essential aspects.
- Identify accommodations. You should be consulted to determine what works best for you. If there are two equal accommodation possibilities, the employer has the right to select the accommodation that is least difficult or expensive. If your employer or supervisor needs more information, it is your obligation to obtain additional medical or vocational information. Technical assistance may be needed to determine how a particular accommodation request can be implemented. The Job Accommodation Network is a resource: http://www.jan.wvu.edu/soar.
- Monitor accommodations. It is your responsibility to notify your employer or supervisor if an accommodation is not working or needs to be adjusted.
- Denial of reasonable accommodations. If the University denies your request for a reasonable accommodation, you must be notified in writing with the reasons for the denial. If there is a substitute accommodation presented, the reasons for denying the original request and replacing the substitute need to be outlined. An Employee who believes that he/she is being, or has been, subjected to discrimination due to his or her disability should discuss the matter with his/her supervisor/advisor, if appropriate, or directly contact the Office of Disability Support Services (DSS) for confidential support, information and possible informal resolution. More information on the University's grievance policies is available for your review. You have a right to file a complaint using the procedures below or file an EEO complaint. http://www.eeoc.gov/charge/overview_charge_filing.html.
If you need information about disclosure of your disability to your employer or supervisor, please view the Job Accommodation website for information. Resources on disability etiquette are available from http://www.jan.wvu.edu/links/disres.htm#Etiquette.
A resource at the University for employees who have a condition that may or may not fall under the ADA and would like information prior to meeting with the Director of the Disability Support Services Office is The University's Faculty and Staff Assistance Program. Please view the website and contact FSAP if you would like a confidential meeting. http://www.udel.edu/fsap.