Policy on Reasonable Accommodations for Employees with Disabilities
It is the policy of Seton Hall University not to discriminate on the basis of disability against any qualified person, in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act and the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination. To this end, the University provides reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities unless the accommodation would impose an undue hardship on the University. The purpose of this policy is to assist current employees and applicants for employment in requesting reasonable accommodations and serve as a guide in assessing requests for reasonable accommodations. This policy is applicable to all employment practices as well as the non-work benefits and privileges of employment that are enjoyed by employees without disabilities.
This is a University wide policy.
- Essential function - The fundamental job duties that the person who holds the position must be able to perform unaided or with the assistance of a reasonable accommodation. A job function is essential if (a) the reason the position exists is to perform that function; (b) there are a limited number of employees available among whom the performance of that job function can be distributed; and/or (c) the function is highly specialized.
- Qualified individual with a disability - An individual with a disability who satisfies the requisite skill, experience, education and other job-related requirements of the position s/he holds or seeks and, with or without reasonable accommodation, can perform the essential functions of such position.
- Reasonable accommodation - Modifications or adjustments to a job or the work environment that will enable a qualified individual with a disability to perform the essential functions of that position.
- Requesting a reasonable accommodation
1.1 Any current employee, or a family member or healthcare provider acting on his/her behalf, may request a reasonable accommodation. The request may be made in person, via phone, email or fax. The responsibility for initiating a request for a reasonable accommodation rests with the employee.
1.2. Requests shall be made to the Associate Vice President for Human Resources or his/her designee (for purposes of this policy, “AVP for HR” shall include the AVP and his/her designee) who shall provide the employee requesting the accommodation with a “Reasonable Accommodation Form.”
1.3. It is the responsibility of the employee, or family member or healthcare provider acting on his/her behalf, to complete the Reasonable Accommodation Form in full and submit it to the AVP for HR. Upon request, the AVP for HR shall assist the employee in completing the Reasonable Accommodation Form.
1.4. In addition to a completed Reasonable Accommodation Form, all requests for accommodation must provide the following:
(a) Verification of the limitation by the employee’s health care provider.
(b) A release executed by the employee allowing the AVP for HR, the employee’s healthcare provider and/or a healthcare provider or technical assistant selected by the University to discuss the limitation and any proposed reasonable accommodation.
1.5. Supervisors are required to notify the AVP for HR of any request for accommodation brought to their attention by any current employee, or a family member on his/her behalf, whether made in person, via phone, email or fax, and to direct the employee to the AVP for HR, if the employee has not already contacted HR. Upon notification by a supervisor, the AVP for HR shall consult with the employee and the above steps shall be followed.
- Review of Requests for Reasonable Accommodation
2.1. The determination as to a reasonable accommodation is made on a case-by-case basis through an interactive process involving the employee, the supervisor and the AVP for HR.
2.2. The employee making the request is required to cooperate throughout the interactive process.
2.3. The AVP for HR shall, when reviewing and acting upon a request for an accommodation:
(a) Consult with the employee’s supervisor concerning the substance of the request and, in conjunction with the employee’s supervisor, analyze the job or activity and determine its purpose and essential functions.
(b) Consult with the employee to determine the job-related limitations that result from the disability and how those limitations could be overcome by a reasonable accommodation.
(c) Identify, in consultation with the employee and his/her supervisor, accommodation options that overcome limitations and assess the effectiveness and feasibility of the proposed accommodations.
2.4. The AVP for HR and the supervisor shall select and implement the accommodation most appropriate for both the employee and the University. The AVP for HR shall complete the Reasonable Accommodation Form and communicate the decision, in writing, to the employee.
2.5. Every effort should be made to reach a decision regarding an accommodation within twenty (20) business days from the date the AVP of HR receives completed Reasonable Accommodation and Medical Inquiry Forms containing sufficient information, as determined by the AVP for HR.
2.6. An employee dissatisfied with the resolution of a reasonable accommodation request may grieve or otherwise request the Vice President for Administration to review that decision. An employee must grieve or request a review, in writing, within ten (10) business days of receiving the written decision from the AVP for HR under Section 2.4 above. The Vice President for Administration is the designated responsible employee for grievance purposes under this section.
- Refusing a Reasonable Accommodation
An employee is not required to accept an accommodation which s/he chooses not to accept. However, if such employee rejects a reasonable accommodation and, as a result, cannot perform the essential functions of the position, the employee will not be considered qualified and may be discharged.
- When a Reasonable Accommodation is Not Required
4.1. The University is not required to provide an accommodation that will impose an undue hardship on it. Undue hardship refers to any accommodation that would be unduly costly, extensive, substantial, disruptive or that would fundamentally alter the employee’s job and/or the nature or operation of the University.
4.2. The University is not required to employ an individual who poses a direct threat or significant risk of substantial harm to the health or safety of him/herself or others. If an individual poses a direct threat or significant risk of substantial harm as a result of a disability, the University must determine, on a case by case basis, whether a reasonable accommodation would either eliminate the risk or reduce it to an acceptable level. If no accommodation exists that would either eliminate or reduce the risk, the employee may be discharged.
An applicant who may need a reasonable accommodation for a disability in order to participate in the selection process should contact the AVP for HR.
- Other Employment-Related Benefits and Privileges
6.1. Any current employee, or a family member or healthcare provider acting on his/her behalf, may request a reasonable accommodation in connection with benefits and privileges of employment that are enjoyed by employees without disabilities. These accommodations would cover non-work areas used by employees for other purposes such as The Chapel, the Recreation Center, Walsh Library, dining facilities and restrooms.
6.2. Requests shall be made to the AVP for HR and may be made in person, via phone, email or fax. The AVP for HR shall provide the employee requesting the accommodation with a “Reasonable Accommodation Form Non-Work.” It is the responsibility of the employee, or family member or healthcare provider acting on his/her behalf, to complete the Reasonable Accommodation Form Non-Work in full and submit it to the AVP for HR. Upon request, the AVP for HR shall assist the employee in completing the Reasonable Accommodation Form Non-Work.
6.3. Following receipt of a completed Reasonable Accommodation Form Non-Work, the AVP shall engage in the interactive process with the employee and the appropriate administrator, following the process set forth in Section 2 above.
Reasonable efforts shall be taken to ensure the confidentiality of the request and review process, including any medical records submitted as well as any reasonable accommodation implemented, in accordance with the law. The contents of discussions and records will only be discussed or shared on a need-to-know basis.
Vice President for Administration
This policy was approved by President Esteban on the recommendation of the Executive Cabinet.
December 10, 2013
Department of Human Resources
Fax (973) 761-9007