The Administrative Policies

TAP No. 56: AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT (ADA) AND REQUESTS FOR REASONABLE ACCOMMODATION

Scope

This policy applies to all University students, faculty, and staff and relates to all requests for accommodations.

Purpose

The purpose of the policy is to outline the process for making an accommodation request(s) to the Office of Disability Services.

I. Overview

Duquesne University is committed to compliance with the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA). These statutes envision an interactive process by which the University and a student, faculty, and/or staff member who is requesting an accommodation will work together to assess whether a disability can be reasonably accommodated. The interactive process includes initial and ongoing dialogue between the requesting individual and appropriate representatives of the University. An individual who requests an accommodation must engage in the interactive process as more fully set forth herein.

II. Key Terms

Below is a summary of certain key terms to assist in understanding this policy.

A. Disability:

In the context of the ADA and ADAAA, an individual with a disability is a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a person who has a history or record of such an impairment, or a person who is perceived by others as having such an impairment.

B. Essential Job Functions:

These are the job duties that an employee must be able to perform with or without a reasonable accommodation.

C. Academic and/or Technical Standards:

These are the academic and technical standards requisite to admission or participation in a student's education program or activity. It is expected that students will meet all academic and/or technical standards as listed in each course syllabus and academic program description with or without an accommodation. Requisite academic and/or technical standards will vary by academic program and school. For technical standards, check with programs and view here.

D. Reasonable Accommodation:

This is any change or adjustment to the work or academic environment which is reasonable and not unduly burdensome to implement, and enables an employee or student with a disability to perform the essential functions of his/her job and/or the academic and/or technical standards of his/her academic course/program. When an accommodation request is made following the procedure set forth herein and granted by the Office of Disability Services, the accommodation applies as of the date it is granted and is forward looking. Accommodations do not apply retroactively to past academic or employment decisions. Accommodations from the University apply only with respect to academic and other University-sponsored programming including housing and food services. Students and employees engaging in external activities such as clinicals or rotations must address accommodation needs with the non-University site.

E. Undue Hardship:

This is an accommodation which would be unduly expensive, disruptive, or would substantially alter operations. Such accommodations need not be provided. Nevertheless, the University will explore and attempt to identify alternative suitable accommodations which would not constitute undue hardship.

III. Procedure for Requesting / Response to Reasonable Accommodation

A student or employee must work with the Office of Disability Services regarding a request for an accommodation. The Office of Disability Services may request information and medical documentation as further explained in Section IV herein. In some cases, the Office of Disability Services will consult with Human Resources, Deans, Department Chairs, Faculty, and/or other appropriate members of the University when evaluating a request for an accommodation.

If the Office of Disability Services determines that the student or employee is entitled to an accommodation and that the proposed accommodation is reasonable as defined by the ADA, ADAAA or any other applicable laws, regulations, or rules, the Office of Disability Services will:

With respect to students, provide written confirmation of the approval or recommendation in the form of a Letter of Accommodation, which is issued to the student and the student's professors and academic advisor on a semester basis. The Letter of Accommodation will identify both professor and student expectations.

With respect to employees, provide written confirmation of the approval or recommendation in the form of a Letter of Accommodation, which is issued to the employee and the employee's supervisor(s) and senior department head. The Letter of Accommodation will include appropriate methods of implementing the requested accommodation.

An accommodation request may be denied because of insufficient documentation, because the accommodation is not reasonable as defined by the ADA, or because the University would experience an undue hardship in granting the accommodation. In such instances, the following information applies:

If the denial is based on insufficient documentation, the Office of Disability Services will provide information regarding what additional supporting documentation is required, and detailed instruction on documentation guidelines will be provided;

If the denial is based upon a determination that an accommodation is not deemed reasonable as defined by the ADA, the Office of Disability Services will communicate that decision.

If the denial is based upon undue hardship, the Office of Disability Services will explore alternate accommodations with the student/employee. Non-Duquesne clinical sites may limit the possibility of alternate accommodations.

IV. Medical Documentation

A student, faculty, and/or staff member who requests an accommodation must provide appropriate medical documentation to the Office of Disability Services. It is the requesting individual's responsibility to provide the medical documentation in a timely fashion.

The following guidelines regarding medical documentation must be met:

The documentation must include a diagnosis that is made by a licensed healthcare practitioner in the appropriate and relevant field with credentials in the area of the disability in question within the last three (3) years of requesting the accommodation.

The report must describe the type and severity of the individual's symptoms at the time of first diagnosis, and give the approximate date of their onset. Subsequent progress and treatment of the condition should also be given.

A description of the individual's current symptoms must be reported.

The report must detail any currently prescribed or recommended treatment, such as medical treatment, physical therapy, dietary requirements, assistive devices, etc.

Specific substantial limitations related to the disorder must be listed.

Whether the individual can meet required technical standards or competencies if they exist.

The report must contain recommendations for specific reasonable accommodations supported by the diagnosis that are needed to address the current impact of the individual's disability to function in the classroom, clinical sites, and other workplaces.

All documentation reports must be typewritten and signed on professional letterhead bearing the physician's address, phone, and clinical affiliation. The physician's license number certifying his or her status as a practicing medical doctor and any additional information about specialty credentials should be listed.

All documentation is confidential and should be submitted to: Duquesne University, Office of Disability Services, Room 309 Duquesne Union, Pittsburgh, PA  15282.

After the medical documentation has been submitted and reviewed, the requesting individual will be notified to schedule an appointment with the Director, or the Associate Director of Disability Services, to either determine appropriate accommodations using the interactive process described above, or to notify the requesting individual that information is needed.

Students, faculty and/or staff members are required to update the Director of Disability Services if their condition changes. The Office of Disability Services may at any time request updated medical documentation. Students must present the Office of Disability Services with a new class schedule each semester to ensure accommodations are applied as needed. Students, faculty and staff must update the Office of Disability Services if there is a change in their medical status to ensure that accommodations remain reasonable and appropriate.

V. Funding

Employee accommodations are required to be funded by the employee's department or division with University supplementary funding.

VI. Confidentiality, Use, and Storage of Documentation

All documentation will be held in the strictest confidence and kept separate from personnel records by the Office of Disability Services. Documentation and reports from medical providers will be used solely to assist the Office of Disability Services in making an informed decision about the employee's request for an accommodation.

VII. Related Information

TAP No. 30, Affirmative Action, Equal Educational and Employment Opportunity and Human Relations in the Workplace and Classroom

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) website

Additional information about reasonable accommodations and the interactive process is available through the Job Accommodation Network (JAN), which is a service provided by the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy.

Additional information about reasonable accommodations in the classroom is available through the Office of Disability Services.

Student Procedures

Student Documentation Guidelines

VIII. Violations

Violations of this policy will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis and are subject to formal disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment.

IX. History

Date of most recent revision: January 2019.

X. Ownership of Policy

Office of Disability Services