1,925: Definitions and Guidelines to Address the Needs of Employees with Disabilities
Revised: March 2023
I. Policy Statement
The University of Nevada, Reno is committed to providing a place of work and learning free of discrimination on the basis of a person's age (40 or older), disability, whether actual or perceived by others (including service-connected disabilities), gender (including pregnancy related conditions), military status or military obligations, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, genetic information, national origin, race (including hair texture and protected hairstyles such as natural hairstyles, afros, bantu knots, curls, braids, locks and twists), color, or religion (protected classes). Where discrimination is found to have occurred, the University will act to stop the discrimination, to prevent its recurrence, to remedy its effects, and to discipline those responsible. This policy does not address other aspects of the university’s disability-related efforts, such as student accommodations and accommodations for members of the public.
The University is committed to compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Fair Housing Act of 1968
- Section 12101(b) of the Americans with Disabilities Act:
“It is the purpose of this Act –…to provide a clear and comprehensive national mandate for the elimination of discrimination against individuals with disabilities.”
- Section 794(a)of the Rehabilitation Act:
“No otherwise qualified, handicapped individual in the United States, as defined in section 706(8) of this title, shall solely by reason of her or his disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance…”
- 24 CFR 100.5 of the Fair Housing Act: It is the policy of the United States to provide, within constitutional limitations, for fair housing throughout the United States. No person shall be subjected to discrimination because of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin in the sale, rental, or advertising of dwellings, in the provision of brokerage services, or in the availability of residential real estate-related transactions.”
The University is dedicated to providing reasonable accommodations for qualified individuals with disabilities, unless doing so would impose an undue hardship for the University. Once the University is made aware of an employee’s need for an accommodation, the University may request documentation from an appropriately credentialed health care professional who has the expertise to give an opinion about the employee’s medical condition and the limitations imposed by it, in order to determine a reasonable accommodation. Each university position contains specific requirements that shall be reviewed on a case-by-case basis in determining whether an otherwise qualified individual with a disability can perform the essential functions or core duties of the position with or without reasonable accommodation, and whether the requested accommodation imposes an undue hardship. Employment requirements may be defined as essential functions or core duties of positions by the State, NSHE, the University, or applicable licensing or certification requirements rules.
II. Procedures and Definitions
Human Resources is responsible for the coordination of requests from employees or applicants with qualifying disabilities under the Rehabilitation Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Fair Housing Act. Human Resources houses the University’s ADA Coordinator (“Coordinator”) and is responsible for overseeing compliance with state and federal regulations.
- Individuals with Disabilities
The ADA broadly defines a covered disability in three different ways in terms almost identical to current federal law under the Rehabilitation Act and the Fair Housing Act. Specifically, an individual has a covered disability if the individual either:
(1) “has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities of such individual”; or
(2) “has a record of such an impairment”; or
(3) “[is] regarded as having such an impairment.”
- Accommodation Requests
(1) Generally, it is the employee’s responsibility to inform the University that an accommodation is needed to enable the employee to perform the essential functions of the job. A request for an accommodation can be made at any time during the course of an individual’s employment. The request may be made to the employee’s supervisor or Human Resources. Supervisors should encourage the employee requesting the accommodation to complete the online Accommodation Request Form. The requesting employee should also be referred to Human Resources. Any medical information an employee chooses to disclose to their supervisor or HR representative is confidential. This information shall not be shared with other university employees except on a need to know basis as determined by Human Resources.
Likewise, it is the applicant’s responsibility to inform the University that an accommodation is needed in the application process. Applicants for university positions may request accommodation in the application and selection process to include testing and specialty requirements by contacting Human Resources at firstname.lastname@example.org. Where appropriate, Human Resources will refer the request to the Coordinator for further handling in accordance with the procedures set forth in Section III.
(2) University Accommodation Committee: The University Accommodation Committee (“Committee”) is responsible for evaluating reconsideration on a determination of what reasonable accommodations, if any, the University should provide to the employee. The Committee, appointed by the Vice President, Administration and Finance, shall include the Vice Provost, Faculty Affairs or their designee, representatives from the Disability Resource Center, Risk Management, Facilities Services, and appropriate subject matter experts, as appointed. The Committee shall be advised by an attorney from the Office of General Counsel. The committee shall meet as needed, to review any request for reconsideration as specified in III: Process for Requesting, Determining and Providing Reasonable Accommodation.
When the need for an accommodation is not obvious or visible, the employee shall be required to provide documentation regarding the impairment, the limitations from the impairment, and the requested accommodation. Documentation may include, but not be limited to, a diagnosis by a qualified health care professional with the requisite expertise to give an opinion about the employee’s medical condition and the limitations imposed by it, a prognosis of the condition, an analysis of the functional limitations imposed by the disability, and a recommendation for accommodation to enable the otherwise qualified employee to perform the essential functions or core duties of the position. The documentation should explain why the recommended accommodations are needed.
III. Process for Requesting, Determining, and Providing Reasonable Accommodations
- Step 1: The employee requests that a supervisor, other university official, or the Coordinator consider an accommodation at work due to a qualified disabling condition. If the request is made to a supervisor or other university official, the supervisor or university official shall refer the employee to Human Resources.
- Step 2: Once the request is made or referred to Human Resources, the Coordinator or their appointee, shall engage in an interactive process with the employee which may include consultation with the employee on the requested accommodation and consultation with the employee’s supervisor or other parties necessary to the determination. When the need for an accommodation is not obvious or visible, the Coordinator shall ask the employee to provide documentation from a medical provider regarding the impairment, the limitations resulting from the impairment, the requested accommodation, and why the recommended accommodations are needed.
- Step 3: Once the Coordinator has received the request and any supporting documentation provided by the employee’s medical provider, the Coordinator, or their designee, shall initiate the interactive process to gather information, evaluate the request and determine what reasonable accommodations, if any, should be made. In the event of a conflict of interest, e.g., the request is initiated by an employee from Human Resources, the Disability Resource Center shall make the determination and all conflicted individuals shall abstain from the review, evaluation, and determination process.
- Step 4: The Coordinator shall notify the employee, the supervisor, and other appropriate university officials who need to know, of any approved accommodation(s). The supervisor or other University official shall be responsible for implementing the approved accommodations as soon as reasonably possible. The cost of accommodation, if any, shall be shared equally by the dean or vice president and the Office of the Provost. The supervisor or other University official shall notify the Coordinator that the accommodation has been implemented.
- Temporary Modifications: When appropriate, the Coordinator may approve temporary accommodation (generally for a period of 45 days or less). Situations that may warrant the approval of a temporary accommodation include, but are not limited to:
- Requests involving employee emergency absences, e.g., hospitalizations
- Requests requiring immediate accommodations once medical documentation is submitted
- Accommodations needed while the Coordinator is researching an accommodation solution for the duration requested
- Requests that a decision be reconsidered shall be made to the Coordinator in writing within 15 calendar days of receipt of the determination.
- The Coordinator may review the implementation of any approved accommodation as needed.
IV. Complaints Alleging Discrimination on the Basis of Disability
Complaints alleging discrimination on the basis of disability shall follow the procedures specified in the Board of Regents Handbook, Title 4, Chapter 8, Section 13.