Fayetteville Policies and Procedures  203.1

Accommodations for Disabilities – Employment, Programs and Services

  1. Policy Statement
    It is the policy of the University of Arkansas (University) to provide equal access and opportunity to qualified persons with disabilities in compliance with Section 503 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended; the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990; and the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA) of 2008.  The University prohibits discrimination based on disability in all services, programs and activities, aspects of the application process and employment relationship. The University will make good faith efforts to provide reasonable accommodations to applicants, employees, students, visitors, and participants in programs and services.

  2. Scope of Application
    This policy applies to all applicants seeking employment with the University, University employees, visitors to campus and others participating in campus programs or receiving campus services.

    Except as described below or in specific University policies, the policies and procedures related to disability accommodations for applicants seeking employment, employees, visitors to the campus, and others participating in campus programs or receiving campus services, are coordinated by the Office of Equal Opportunity and Compliance (OEOC).  Contact information is as follows:

    Office of Equal Opportunity and Compliance (OEOC)
    Attn:  ADA Coordinator
    4 West Avenue Annex (346 N. West Avenue)
    University of Arkansas
    Fayetteville, AR 72701
    (479) 575-4019 (office)
    (479) 575-3646 (tdd)
    titlevii@uark.edu

    For information regarding policies and procedures pertaining to students or applicants for admission with disabilities including, but not limited to, employment that is contingent upon an individual’s status as a student, please see the Appendix to this policy.

  3. Definitions
    1. Applicant:  Any individual pursuing employment with the University by submitting appropriate application materials for a specific, vacant position. 

    2. Disability:  For purposes of considering accommodations, a disability is defined as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.

    3. Direct Threat: A significant risk to the health or safety of the individual with disability or others when this risk cannot be eliminated by a Reasonable Accommodation. An employee must be able to perform the essential functions of a position, with or without accommodations, without posing a direct threat. 

    4. Essential Job Functions: Job activities that are determined by the employer to be essential or core to performing the job.  A function may be essential because, for example, the position exists to perform the function; there are a limited number of employees available who could perform the function; and/or the function is highly specialized, and the incumbent is hired for special expertise or ability to perform it.

    5. Event Accommodation: An adjustment, auxiliary aid or service that provides a person with a disability equal access to an event, lecture, meeting and/or facility.  Accommodations can include but are not limited to interpreters, captionists, written materials in alternate format, listening devices and physically accessible locations.

    6. Interactive Process:  Collaboration and communication between the employer (University officials) and employee to explore, discuss and determine the appropriate reasonable accommodation(s), if any.  The employer and employee are expected to engage in the interactive process in a “good faith” manner.

    7. Major life Activities: Term includes caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating and working; major bodily functions and functions of the organs.

    8. Qualified Individual with a Disability:  An individual who possesses the requisite skills, education, experience and training for a position, and who can, with or without reasonable accommodation, perform the essential functions of the position the individual desires or holds.

    9. Physical or Mental Impairment: Any 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 and endocrine; or, any mental or psychological disorders, such as intellectual disability (formerly termed “mental retardation”), organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness and specific learning disabilities.

    10. Reasonable Accommodation:  A modification, exception or a change to how things are customarily done in a position, practice, policy or the work environment that enables a qualified person with a disability an opportunity to be considered for a position, perform the essential functions of a position, or enjoy the same benefits and privileges of employment as are enjoyed by similarly situated applicants or employees without disabilities. The University’s obligation under the ADA is to provide a reasonable accommodation for a disability, not necessarily the individual’s preferred accommodation.

      1. Examples of reasonable accommodations[1] may include, but are not limited to, making existing facilities readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities, job restructuring, part-time or modified work schedules, acquisition or modification of equipment or devices, appropriate adjustment or modifications of examinations, training materials or policies, auxiliary aids and services or providing qualified readers or interpreters, assisting a current employee to seek a vacant position for which the individual is qualified, and other similar accommodations.

    11. Undue Hardship[2]:  An action requiring significant difficulty or expense when considered in light of a number of factors, such as the nature and cost of the accommodation needed; the effect or impact of the accommodation upon the unit or department and its operation; the University’s size, financial resources, and the nature of its structure or operation.  Undue hardship also refers to an accommodation that is unduly extensive, substantial, or disruptive, or one that would fundamentally alter the nature of the position. Undue hardship is determined on a case-by-case basis.

  4.  Confidentiality
    Medical information obtained in connection with a request for reasonable accommodation shall be maintained by the ADA Coordinator in files separate from the individual’s personnel file. Such information should be restricted to a need-to-know basis. The ADA Coordinator may share certain information with an employee’s supervisor or other University official(s) as necessary to make appropriate determinations on a reasonable accommodation request. Employees receiving such information in connection with the reasonable accommodation process must keep the information confidential.

    The fact that a reasonable accommodation has been requested or approved and information about functional limitation is also confidential.

    Employees are not required nor encouraged to disclose medical information or information about an impairment(s) to their supervisors.

  5. Accommodation Requests 
    1. Employees
      1. Request Process. An employee seeking a reasonable accommodation for a disability should submit the Disability Accommodation Request and the Medical Statement Forms to the ADA Coordinator via the OEOC website. The accommodation request will not be processed without the completed Disability Accommodation Request Form. In most instances, the Medical Statement Form will be required, as well.[3]

        If an employee notifies a supervisor of a need for a reasonable accommodation for a disability,[4] the supervisor should inform the employee that the University has established procedures for determining reasonable accommodations on a case-by-case basis and refer the employee to the ADA Coordinator.  Questions regarding an employee’s medical condition should be left to the University’s ADA Coordinator.

      2. Assessment of Disability. The ADA Coordinator will determine whether the employee has a disability by evaluating medical information received as necessary to make that determination. The ADA Coordinator will contact the medical provider if additional information is needed to determine if the individual has a disability defined by the ADA or to assist in determining an effective reasonable accommodation.

        In the event the ADA Coordinator determines it is appropriate to obtain an independent medical opinion concerning the impairment for which the accommodation is sought, the University will bear the cost of the independent medical evaluation. Failure to cooperate in obtaining an independent medical evaluation may result in cancellation of the request for accommodation.

      3. Interactive Process. The ADA Coordinator will facilitate the interactive process with the employee, the appropriate supervisor(s), Department Human Resources Representative (if designated) and other University officials, as appropriate.

      4. Documentation. At the conclusion of the interactive process, the ADA Coordinator will ensure that the outcome of the process is documented and will work with the employee’s supervisor and the employee regarding the implementation of any reasonable accommodations that are approved. In the event that a requested accommodation is not approved because it would constitute an undue hardship, the ADA Coordinor will document the basis for that determination in consultation with the supervisor.

        The Department (Supervisor) is required to provide a statement supporting undue hardship to the ADA Coordinator.

      5. Evaluation. The ADA Coordinator should evaluate the approved accommodation within three (3) months of approval to assess the effectiveness or need to make an adjustment.[5]

      6. Reassignment. Where appropriate, in the event that an employee is not able to perform the essential functions of their job, even with a reasonable accommodation or because any accommodation would result in undue hardship, Human Resources, in consultation with the ADA Coordinator, may identify vacant positions for which the employee is qualified, with or without a reasonable accommodation. The options for an employee will be assessed (which may include applying for such a vacant position) and determined on a case-by-case basis. Any search for a vacant position will not exceed thirty (30) calendar days.

      7. Time Periods. An employee may request a reasonable accommodation at any time during their employment at the University of Arkansas. The University will make every reasonable effort to ensure that the request for a reasonable accommodation is processed in a timely and efficient manner.

    2. Job Applicants with Disabilities
      An applicant requesting a reasonable accommodation in the application/selection process should submit a Disability Accommodation Request Form to the ADA Coordinator via the OEOC website. The form should be submitted prior to the posting closing date and as a soon as possible prior to the interview to allow enough time to process the request. The applicant may or may not need to submit medical documentation to determine if the applicant is an individual with a disability or to assist in determining an effective accommodation.

      Applicants needing assistance or information, may contact OEOCtitlevii@uark.edu or (479)575-4019.

      If the request is made to someone with responsibility for the hiring process, that person should refer the applicant to the ADA Coordinator.

    3. Visitors to the Campus or Participants in University Programs and Services
      To request a reasonable accommodation based on disability in programs and services, a visitor or participant in University programs or services should contact the appropriate department (host/organizer) or the ADA Coordinator. Visitors or Participants can submit a Disability Accommodation Request Form to the ADA Coordinator via the OEOC website.  The department should contact the ADA Coordinator if assistance or guidance is needed to provide a reasonable accommodation. 

  6. Records
    Primary documentation pertaining to the reasonable accommodation request for applicants seeking employment, employees, visitors, and others participating in campus programs or receiving campus services will be kept in the Office of Equal Opportunity and Compliance (OEOC).

  7. Training 
    All first-time supervisors or newly hired supervisors are expected to participate in ADA reasonable accommodation training within the first three months of beginning employment and will receive a copy of this Policy at that time. Supervisors/Managers are expected to receive refresher training at least every three years. 

  8. Adminstrative Review  
    An employee or participant in a program or service may request an administrative review by the Director of OEOC. The administrative review may be based only on one or more of the following reasons:
    1. If the decision is contradictory to University policy or applicable law; or
    2. The interactive process did not substantially comply with the guidelines in this Policy.

      The request for review must be submitted within ten (10) business days after employee has received the official decision notice in writing.  The Director shall communicate his or her decision in writing and the decision is final and not subject to further appeal.  

      An applicant or visitor can contact the ADA Coordinator with any concerns or denial of an accommodation request.

  9. Complaint
    Any applicant, employee, visitor, or participant who believes that he or she has been discriminated against, harassed on the basis of a disability, or retaliated against due to an accommodation request should contact OEOC at (479) 575-4019 (voice), (479) 575-3646 (tdd), or titlevii@uark.edu.  Any supervisor or other administrator who receives a written or oral complaint of disability discrimination, harassment or retaliation shall promptly notify OEOC.

  10. Retaliation
    University policy prohibits any form of retaliation against persons who have an actual or perceived disability or to an employee who has requested or received an accommodation, or aids another in getting an accommodation.

  11. Voluntary Self-Identification
    University of Arkansas employees who have a disability or have a disability that requires an accommodation(s) are encouraged to indicate their disability status by utilizing the voluntary self-identification process in Web BASIS. An instructional guide for updating a status is provided on the OEOC Website.

  12. Limitations
    Nothing in this policy shall be construed as creating rights or obligations in excess of any requirements of applicable law and regulations. 

    Any questions regarding interpretation of this policy and procedures can be referred to OEOC at (479)575-4019. 

[1] These are examples of possible accommodations but the type received is based on the particular facts of each individual (case-by-case basis).  Reasonable accommodations do not include personal use items needed to accomplish daily activities (e.g. eyeglasses, hearing aids, prosthetic limbs, or a wheelchair).

 [2] A determination of undue hardship should be grounded in careful analysis, and not based on improper attitudes toward the individual’s disability.  Nor can undue hardship be based on the fact that provision of a reasonable accommodation might have a negative impact on the morale of other employees.  However, an undue hardship may exist where provision of a reasonable accommodation would be unduly disruptive to other employees’ ability to work.

 [3] The Medical Statement Form will be required, unless the disability/impairment is obvious or visible and the request corresponds with the disability. Employees may consult with the ADA Coordinator as to whether the Medical Statement Form is required for their request.

 [4] The employee does not need to use the words, “reasonable accommodation,” but may simply state that s/he needs an adjustment, modification, assistance or change at work due to a medical condition/impairment; or in the application process due to the nature of his/her disability.

 [5] A supervisor or employee can request to revisit an approved accommodation for possible adjustments at any time by contacting the ADA Coordinator.  

Revised April 23, 2018
Reformatted for Web October 22, 2014
September 9, 2014