Seattle College District Procedure
TITLE: Reasonable Accommodation for Employees and Applicants with Disabilities
- 418.10.01 Reasonable Accommodation. Modification or adjustment to a job, work environment, policies, practices, or procedures that enables a qualified individual with a disability to enjoy equal employment opportunity.
- 418.10.02 Equal Employment Opportunity. An opportunity to perform the essential job functions or to enjoy equal benefits and privileges of employment as are available to a similarly-situated applicant or employee without a disability.
- 418.10.03 Person with a Disability.
- A person with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; or
- A person who has an abnormal condition that is medically cognizable or diagnosable, or who is perceived to have a disability, and who is denied reasonable accommodation or is discriminated against on the basis of that condition.
- 418.10.04 Qualified Individual with a Disability. An individual with a disability who meets the skill, experience, education, and other job-related requirements of the position held or desired, and who, with or without reasonable accommodation, can perform the essential functions of the job.
- 418.10.05 Undue Hardship. An excessively costly, extensive, substantial, or disruptive modification, or one that would fundamentally alter the nature of operation of the program or activity, or the institution.
- 418.10.06 Essential Functions. The fundamental job duties of the position.
- 418.10.07 Health Care professional. A person who has completed a course of study and is licensed to practice in a field of health care which includes the diagnosis and assessment of the particular disability or disabilities in question.
418.20 Obligations and Rights of the District, Employees and Applicants
- 418.20.01 Employee/Applicant Responsibilities
It is the obligation of an individual with a disability to make a request for a reasonable accommodation. This request will state the nature of the disability and the specific accommodation desired. Applicants must notify an Employee Services staff member or the hiring authority of the need for accommodation. An existing employee must notify his/her immediate supervisor.
When an applicant or employee makes a request for a reasonable accommodation, and the disability is not readily apparent and has not been previously documented, the employer may required written verification from a health care professional that (s)he has a disability as claimed, and that it has the effect of necessitating reasonable accommodation.
A qualified individual with a disability has the right to refuse an accommodation. However, if the individual cannot perform the essential functions of the job without the accommodation, (s)he will not be considered to be an otherwise qualified individual with a disability after refusing the accommodation. SCD may obtain a second opinion at its own expense from a health care professional of its selection which may include an examination of the individual. Such inquiries will be limited to verification of the employee's claims, except that the District may also request that the health care professional suggest possible effective alternative accommodations.
418.30 SCD Responsibilities
- 418.30.01 SCD will provide reasonable accommodation to known physical, mental or sensory limitations of an otherwise qualified individual with a disability.
- 418.30.02 SCD has an obligation to provide a reasonable accommodation to applicants and employees in all aspects of employment. This duty is ongoing and may arise any time that a person's disability or job changes.
- 418.30.03 The need for a reasonable accommodation shall not adversely affect the consideration of an individual with a disability for employment, training, promotion or opportunity to avail themselves of equal benefits, privileges and conditions of employment.
- 418.30.04 SCD will treat all information regarding the presence, or nature of an employee's or applicant's disability as a confidential medical record and shall maintain the information in a secure manner, apart from personnel files, with access restricted to designated personnel on a need to know basis.
418.40 Procedures for Recruitment/Selection
- 418.40.01 SCD will provide reasonable accommodation in all stages of the recruitment, application and selection process according to the following procedure:
- Applicants will be notified of the right to make an accommodation request and be given information on how to initiate such a request on all announcements, bulletins and recruitment materials.
- SCD will respond to requests to provide accommodation in a timely manner. Failure to do so shall be justification for extension of application and other deadlines.
- Qualification standards, employment tests and other selection criteria will be reviewed by Employee Services to ensure that they do not screen out or tend to screen out an individual with a disability, unless job-related, and necessary for effective performance of the job. Employment tests will be used in an effective manner to measure actual abilities. Tests will be reviewed by Employee Services to ensure that they accurately reflect the skills, aptitude or other factors being measured, and not the impaired sensory, manual, or speaking skills of an employee or applicant with a disability unless those are the skills the test is designed to measure.
418.50 Procedures to Allow Performance of Essential Functions
- 418.50.01 Determination of Essential Functions
SCD will examine each employment position to determine its purpose and its essential functions when:
- a position is created;
- a position becomes vacant;
- duties are changed; or
- an accommodation is requested to perform a job.
- 418.50.02 The following criteria will be considered in identifying the essential functions of a job:
- Are employees in the position actually required to perform the function?
- Would removing that function fundamentally change the job?
- Was the position established to perform the function?
- Are there a limited number of other employees available to perform the function, or among whom the function can be distributed?
- Is the function highly specialized, and is the person in the position hired for special expertise or ability to perform it?
418.60 Reasonable Accommodation Request process
- 418.60.01 Upon receipt of the employee's request for reasonable accommodation, the employee's supervisor shall notify his or her supervisor and the campus Human Resources Director of the request.
- 418.60.02 The Human Resources Director will schedule a personal interview with the individual with a disability to obtain more information about his or her specific physical or mental abilities and limitations as they relate to the essential job function, identify the barriers to job performance, and assess how an accommodation may overcome these barriers.
- 418.60.03 The Human Resources Director will consult with the employee, and may consult with other knowledgeable sources, to identify potential accommodations and assess how effective each would be in enabling the individual to perform essential job functions.
- 418.60.04 After review of the request, health care professional statement, employee interview, and discussions with other appropriate administrators, the Human Resources Director will propose an appropriate accommodation, where possible, to the employee, his or her supervisor, and the appropriate administrators. The accommodation may include, but is not limited to,
- Modification of the work environment;
- Modification of the employee's regular job duties and/or work schedule within the current position; or
- Temporary appointment in accordance with District policies, procedures and applicable provisions of the collective bargaining agreements.
- 418.60.05 If the affected parties are unable to agree on an appropriate accommodation, or if there are two or more accommodations that would allow the individual with a disability to perform essential job functions, after considering the preference of the individual with a disability, the matter will be reviewed by the Chief Human Resources Officer. Following this review, the Chief Human Resources Officer will make a recommendation to the college President, who may select the accommodation(s) to be provided.
418.70 Alternative Accommodation Process
- 418.70.01 When an accommodation in an employee's present position is not reasonable, or would cause an undue hardship, the District shall attempt to accommodate the employee in the following manner:
- The Human Resources Director shall review with the employee information regarding transfer, lateral movement, voluntary demotion, the separation of an employee due to mental, sensory, or physical incapacity.
- Reassign the employee to a vacant position at the same pay range or lower, for which (s)he is qualified, in accordance with applicable SCD Policies and Procedures.
- Assist the employee in identifying and applying for vacant positions, for which (s)he is qualified within SCD.
- Reasonably attempt to make other information available to the employee to identify and apply for vacant positions, for which (s)he is qualified within other agencies and institutions.
- 418.70.02 The employee is responsible for providing written information to the District showing current skills, abilities, training, and experience; identifying the types of jobs (s)he is interested in and qualified for; applying for vacant positions; and advising the District of any change of mailing address.
418.80 Reemployment Process
- 418.80.01 In the event the employee is separated from SCD due to the inability to perform the essential functions of a job, the Human Resources Director shall provide to the employee information pertaining to reemployment in accordance with SCD Policies and Procedures, and applicable provisions of collective bargaining agreements. To be eligible for reemployment, the former employee must:
- Complete and submit an application for reemployment.
- Submit to the Human Resources Director a health care professional's statement affirming the former employee's fitness to return to work which specifies any work restrictions due to a physical, sensory, or mental disability of the individual:
- The health care professional's statement must directly reference the duties specified in the job description for the position(s) or job class(es) for which the former employee may be qualified;
- If the health care professional's statement provides inadequate information, the former employee shall obtain the necessary clarification from the health care professional or will provide a release to SCD to communicate directly with the health care professional regarding the disabling condition as it relates to employment.
- SCD may require that the former employee provide further documentation regarding the disability and/or be examined by a physician or health care professional of SCD's choice at SCD's expense.
- Meet the minimum qualifications and the skills and abilities requirements for the position(s) pursuant to SCD Policies and Procedures and, applicable provisions of the collective bargaining agreements.
- 418.80.02 SCD, if requested, will provide the following assistance to a former employee who is seeking reemployment and who was separated due to a disability:
- Assessment of positions and job classes for which the former employee is qualified.
- Assistance regarding the employment/application process.
418.90 Procedure to Allow Enjoyment of Equal Benefits, Privileges and Conditions of Employment
- 418.90.01 SCD will provide reasonable accommodation to enable an employee with a disability to avail themselves of the benefits, privileges and conditions of employment equal to those available to similarly situated non-disabled employees by:
- Basing the selection of an employee for promotion, training, travel, participation in projects, committees, developmental work assignments and other opportunities which may have an impact on an employee's career development upon legally acceptable factors. Selection will not be based upon the need to provide a reasonable accommodation;
- Enabling, through reasonable accommodation, an employee with a disability the opportunity to avail themselves of all employer supported social or recreational activities;
- Providing to an employee with a disability in a manner or format which is readily accessible to that person, the information contained in communications regarding activities or opportunities covered under this section;
- Notifying employees about SCD reasonable accommodation policy for opportunities under this section, and providing instructions, if requested, as to how to initiate such a request.
418.92 The Undue Hardship Limitation
- 418.92.01 SCD's responsibility to make a particular reasonable accommodation is limited by the defense that to do so would impose an undue hardship upon SCD operation or would fundamentally alter the nature of operation of the particular program or activity. If a particular accommodation imposes an undue hardship, SCD will consider whether there are alternative accommodations that would not impose such hardship.
- 418.92.02 Written justification, signed by the President of the campus or the Chancellor of the district, will be provided for any decision not to provide a reasonable accommodation because of undue hardship. The justification will demonstrate a consideration of the Disability Accommodation Revolving Fund at the Department of Personnel, and will explore the practical and available limits of SCDs ability to draw upon resources available elsewhere within state government.
- 418.92.03 If the cost of a reasonable accommodation would impose an undue hardship, and there are no other financial resources available, the individual with a disability will be given the option of providing the accommodation, or paying that portion of the cost which would constitute an undue hardship.
- 418.92.04 The following criteria shall be considered in determining undue hardship:
- The nature and net cost of the accommodation needed, taking into consideration the availability of outside funding;
- The overall financial resources of the department/college, the number of employees, and the effect on expenses and resources;
- The impact of the accommodation on the operation of the department or campus, including the impact on the ability of other employees to perform their duties, and the impact on the department or campus's ability to conduct its business.
418.94 Policy Dissemination
- 418.94.01 Information regarding this policy and procedure shall be widely disseminated throughout the SCD through inclusion in all SCD recruitment announcements, inclusion in SCD employee handbooks, posted on general faculty and staff lounge bulletin boards, given to an employee at the time of a request for accommodation, given to employees upon request, included as a discussion item in new employee orientation sessions and supervisor training meetings, and disseminated by other means as appropriate in an effort to inform all employees and applicants for employment of the policy and related procedures.
418.96 Internal Grievance Procedure
- 418.96.01 Existing Employees
Any employee who feels that they have been unfairly denied reasonable accommodation may file a complaint. Such a complaint may be filed through existing grievance procedures (as outlined in SCD Procedure 419 Discrimination and Harassment), directly with a campus Human Resources Director or with the District Chief Human Resources Officer.
418.98 Applicants for Employment
- 418.98.01 Any applicant who feels that (s)he has been unfairly denied reasonable accommodation and who initiates a complaint with any Employee Services personnel, will have his/her complaint investigated in a timely manner, so that (s)he can participate in the application process with all other applicants for the position.
- 418.98.02 The grievance procedure for applicants is as follows:
- Complaints shall be in writing, shall contain specific information and shall be promptly investigated by a Human Resources Director or designee.
- Response may be made orally or in writing within five (5) working days. Oral responses will be followed by a written response within fifteen (15) working days of receipt of the initial request.
- Written appeals may be made to the Chief Human Resources Officer who shall then investigate and respond orally or in writing within five (5) working days. Oral responses will be followed by a written response within fifteen (15) working days of receipt of the appeal.
- Written justification, signed by the District Chancellor, will be provided for any decision not to provide reasonable accommodation to an applicant because of undue hardship.
Chancellor’s Cabinet – Revision & Adoption History
Companion Document : Pol418
Adoption Date : 1996/02/06
Revision Date : 2016/08/08