UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI POLICY AND PROCEDURE MANUAL Americans with Disabilities Act and Reasonable Accommodations

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1 TITLE: UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI POLICY AND PROCEDURE MANUAL Americans with Disabilities Act and Reasonable Accommodations REFERENCE: 42 U.S.C , et seq., as amended; Part 1630 of Title 29, Code of Federal Regulations. CATEGORY: Human Resources PAGE: 1 of 5 SUPERSEDES: N/A APPROVER: PURPOSE /s/ Nerissa Morris Vice President, Human Resources EFFECTIVE: April 7, 2016 The purpose of this policy is to establish the framework for considering requests for reasonable accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act ( ADA ), as amended, and its related regulations issued by the U.S. Department of Labor. POLICY The University is committed to complying with all applicable provisions of the ADA. It is the policy of the University that discrimination against any qualified employee or applicant with regard to any terms or conditions of employment on the basis of a disability or perceived disability is strictly prohibited. The University will provide reasonable accommodations to a qualified individual with a disability in accordance with the procedure described below, provided that such accommodation does not constitute an undue hardship to the University, or a direct threat to other employees. DEFINITIONS Direct threat shall mean a significant risk of substantial harm to the health or safety of the individual or others that cannot be eliminated or reduced by a reasonable accommodation. An assessment as to whether an employee poses a direct threat shall be based upon an individualized assessment of the employee s present ability to safely perform the essential functions of the job. This assessment shall be based on a reasonable medical judgment that relies on the most current medical knowledge and/or on the best available objective evidence. Factors to consider include: (i) the duration of the risk; (ii) the nature and severity of the potential harm; (iii) the likelihood that the potential harm will occur. Disability shall mean (1) A physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; (2) A record of such an impairment

2 (3) Being regarded as having such an impairment. An impairment that is episodic or in remission is considered a disability if it would substantially limit a major life activity when active. Essential functions shall mean the fundamental job duties of the employment position the individual with a disability holds or desires. This term does not include marginal functions of the position. Major life activity includes, but is not limited to: (1) caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, sitting, reaching, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, interacting with others, and working; and (2) the operation of a major bodily function, including functions of the immune system, special sense organs and skin, normal cell growth; and digestive, genitourinary, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, cardiovascular, endocrine, hemic, lymphatic, musculoskeletal, reproductive functions, as well as the operation of an individual organ within a body system. Physical or mental impairment is defined as a condition that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of an individual. Such impairments can consist of any (1) physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting one or more body systems, such as neurological, musculoskeletal, special sense organs, respiratory (including speech organs), cardiovascular, reproductive, digestive, genitourinary, immune, circulatory, hemic, lymphatic, skin, endocrine; or (2) mental or psychological disorder, such as an intellectual disability, organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, and specific learning disabilities. The determination of whether an impairment substantially limits a major life activity requires an individualized assessment, and shall be made without regard to the improvement in one s impairment due to mitigating measures, except ordinary eyeglasses and contact lenses shall be considered. Notably, not every impairment will automatically constitute a disability within the meaning of the ADA. For purposes of this definition, physical characteristics, such as advanced age, eye color, hair color, height, weight, muscle tone, or other conditions that do not result from a physiological disorder, are not considered an impairment. Common personality traits such as poor judgment or a quick temper where these are not symptoms of a mental or psychological disorder, are also not included in this definition. While the condition of pregnancy alone does not constitute an impairment under the ADA, an employee may have an impairment related to their pregnancy that qualifies as a disability under the ADA. Qualified individual shall mean any employee of the University that satisfies the requisite skill, experience, education and other job-related requirements of the employment position held or sought, and can perform the essential functions of the position with or without a reasonable accommodation. This term does not include employees currently engaging in the illegal use of drugs when the University takes an employment action against the employee on the basis of such use. ADA Policy Page 2 of 5

3 Reasonable accommodation shall mean: (1) modifications or adjustments to a job application process that enable a qualified applicant with a disability to be considered for a position desired by the applicant; (2) modifications or adjustments to the work environment, or to the manner or circumstances under which the position held or desired is customarily performed, that enable an individual with a disability who is qualified to perform the essential functions of that position; or (3) modifications or adjustments that enable an employee with a disability to enjoy equal benefits and privileges of employment as are enjoyed by other similarly situated employees without disabilities. Undue hardship shall mean significant difficulty or expense incurred by the University. Undue hardship refers not only to financial difficulty, but to reasonable accommodations that are unduly extensive, substantial, disruptive, or those that would fundamentally alter the nature of the operations in question. PROCEDURE I. REQUESTS FOR ACCOMMODATIONS A. GENERALLY Employees with a disability who believe they need a reasonable accommodation to perform the essential functions of their job may submit an Accommodation Request Form to the Human Resources Office of Workplace Equity and Performance ( WEP ). Alternatively, an employee may advise his/her supervisor, and assigned Human Resources representative of the need for a reasonable accommodation. Upon notice, the supervisor or Human Resources representative shall advise WEP accordingly. Additionally, employees who return from a leave of absence with restrictions from their healthcare provider shall also have the restrictions evaluated as requests for accommodations under this policy. B. EVALUATION OF REQUESTS FOR ACCOMMODATIONS Upon receipt and review of an accommodation request in conjunction with WEP, the assigned Human Resources representative will meet with the employee to discuss and identify the precise limitations resulting from the disability and the potential accommodation that may be provided to help overcome those limitations. It may be necessary for the employee to provide supporting documentation in the form of an ADA Medical Certification or other documentation provided by the employee s healthcare provider in order to verify the existence of a disability and the need for a reasonable accommodation. If the University has reason to doubt the information provided by the employee s healthcare provider, the University reserves the right to require an employee to submit to a medical examination by a healthcare provider of the University s choice, at the University s expense. ADA Policy Page 3 of 5

4 An evaluation of a request for an accommodation will include consideration as to whether the potential accommodation creates an undue hardship for the University, or the existence of a direct threat to the employee or others. The Human Resources representative will inform the employee as to whether his/her request for an accommodation has been approved, denied, or an alternative accommodation is provided. Such review and approval is final. Where an accommodation requires the purchase of, or modification to, equipment/device, the Human Resources representative and WEP shall consult with Risk Management to ensure the equipment/device is an appropriate accommodation, and the equipment/device is utilized properly by the employee. In the event an accommodation cannot be afforded to an employee because it creates an undue hardship or poses a direct threat to the employee or other, the employee shall be separated from the University. It should be noted that providing the best possible accommodation; reallocating or eliminating essential job functions; or providing the employee personal use items (i.e., eyeglasses, hearing aids, wheelchairs, etc.) are not considered reasonable accommodations under the ADA. II. PROHIBITION OF DISCRIMINATION ON THE BASIS OF DISABILITY A. GENERALLY The University is committed to ensuring its compliance with the ADA, as well as promoting a work environment free of discrimination. As such, discrimination against any qualified individual with regard to any application procedures, hiring, advancement, discharge, compensation, training or other terms and conditions of employment based upon the individual's disability or perceived disability is strictly prohibited. B. COMPLAINTS OF DISCRIMINATION ON THE BASIS OF DISABILITY Employees who believe they have been discriminated against on the basis of an actual or perceived disability may file an internal complaint with WEP in accordance with the University s Equal Employment Opportunity policy. III. POLICY VIOLATIONS The University prohibits retaliation against any individual who reports discrimination or harassment or participates in an investigation involving a complaint of discrimination or harassment. Retaliation is a serious violation of this policy and, like harassment or discrimination itself, will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination. Additionally, factual misrepresentations made by employees in order to obtain accommodations under this policy will also be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination. IV. POLICY INTERPRETATION; COMPLIANCE WITH FMLA AND RELATED REGULATIONS; AMENDMENT This policy and the procedures described herein above shall be interpreted in a manner consistent with the ADA, Part 1630 of Title 29, Code of Federal Regulations, other guidance and/or regulations issued by the U.S. Department of Labor, and any interpretative case law. ADA Policy Page 4 of 5

5 Amendments to this policy warranted by changes in the law may occur, from time to time. In such cases, employees shall be advised of any substantive and material amendments to this policy. ADA Policy Page 5 of 5

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