Faculty and staff may ask for various accommodations throughout the interactive process. Leave or reassignment may be potential accommodations that should be considered. Additional information on these specific accommodations is provided here.
Leave as an accommodation
Sometimes, faculty or staff may need to request leave due to their disability. Leave can take multiple forms. One individual might need a continuous or extended leave, while another may need to take intermittent and unscheduled absences from work. Under the ADA, leave may or may not be a reasonable accommodation and must be evaluated under the interactive process.
Before determining whether a request for leave is a reasonable accommodation under the ADA, supervisors and managers should first assess whether the employee is eligible for Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave. Contact the appropriate HR representative in order to determine whether the individual is eligible and to obtain the documentation that the individual will need to complete in order to qualify for FMLA leave.
Reassignment assistance as an accommodation
Under the ADA, employers provide reasonable accommodations in order to enable their employees to perform the essential functions of the job; however, there are situations when there are no reasonable or effective accommodations that could allow the employee to perform those functions. In these circumstances, it is vital that supervisors, managers, and HR representatives understand that the University may offer reassignment assistance as an accommodation of last resort.
Reassignment assistance is available when a faculty or staff member has a disability and is medically cleared to work, but has permanent, long-term, or indefinite restrictions due to a disability. If the University determines that faculty or staff member is unable to perform the essential functions of the job with or without a reasonable accommodation, then the faculty or staff member will be offered reassignment assistance through the Reassignment Assistance Committee (RAC) program.
Reassignment assistance is a program where an employee, who is approved to enter the RAC program, works with a HR Reassignment Coordinator to identify open positions for which the employee is minimally qualified. If the employee meets the minimum qualifications of that open position, then the HR Reassignment Coordinator will work with the unit where the open position is located to place the employee in that position.
More Information about Reassignment as an Accommodation
In some instances, a faculty or staff member with a disability may have long-term, indefinite, or permanent restrictions and the University may be able to provide reasonable accommodations that enable this individual to perform the essential functions of the job. In other cases, all reasonable accommodations have been exhausted or the faculty or staff member is unable to perform their essential job functions, without or without a reasonable accommodation. In the latter instance, the faculty or staff member may be eligible for reassignment assistance as an accommodation of last resort.
If a faculty or staff member is medically-cleared returned to work or is at work, but has long-term, indefinite, or permanent restrictions that cannot be reasonably accommodated by the department, the faculty or staff member will be referred to the Reasonable Accommodation Committee (RAC). The RAC will assess whether there are reasonable accommodations that could enable that individual to remain in their current position and perform the essential functions of that job. If there are reasonable accommodations available, then the faculty or staff member will be returned to their original position and the department will be directed to implement any reasonable accommodations. If the RAC determines that there are no reasonable accommodations that could enable the faculty or staff member to perform the essential functions of their original job, then the faculty or staff member will be offered reassignment assistance. The faculty or staff member may accept or decline reassignment assistance.
Reassignment assistance is a 90-day program where the faculty or staff member works with a HR Reassignment Coordinator to identify open positions for which the faculty or staff member is minimally qualified. In doing this, the HR Reassignment Coordinator will strive to identify positions of a similar pay and status to the faculty or staff member’s original position. If they identify an open position and the faculty or staff member meets the minimum qualifications of the position, they will apply to that position, be interviewed by the department, and offered the job if it is confirmed that the faculty or staff member meets those minimum qualifications.
NOTE: In instances of reassignment as a reasonable accommodation, hiring supervisors cannot apply the University’s practice of choosing the “best qualified” applicant. The faculty or staff member under the RAC program must be accepted for the position if they meet the minimal qualifications for the position.
There may be instances when supervisors, managers, or HR representatives asked to look at vacant positions in their areas to reassign one of their own staff as an accommodation. There may also be times when hiring supervisors are notified there is an individual who is qualified for one of the department’s vacant positions and is eligible for reassignment as an accommodation.
For more information about reassignment, please email the ADA Coordinator or call the Office for Institutional Equity at (734) 763-0235.