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Information for Supervisors

The DRC partners with supervisors to create accessible workplace environments and implement reasonable accommodations for employees. The Workplace Access staff is available to consult with supervisors about how to create work environments that are accessible and inclusive for a diverse range of employees, making it less necessary to implement accommodations on an individual basis.


What is a Reasonable Accommodation?

A reasonable accommodation is a change to an application process, work environment, or the way work is customarily performed that enables a disabled or pregnant employee to enjoy equal access.

Interactive Process for Exploring Accommodations:

If an employee suggests that she may need a change to a work environment or the way work is performed because of a medical condition, pregnancy, or disability, and this is not a request that you would normally approve as part of your usual department practice, the employee should be referred to the DRC. The employee is not required to use the words “reasonable accommodation."  Please do not deny any potential requests for accommodation before the DRC has an opportunity to thoroughly evaluate the request(s) and possible alternatives.

If an employee requests reasonable accommodation(s) through the DRC, a member of the Workplace Access staff will contact you to discuss the request. The Workplace Access staff member may request a copy of the employee’s job description and ask you questions about the employee’s duties and responsibilities, including the frequency with which particular tasks are performed. The DRC greatly appreciates your prompt response and partnership throughout this process.

Based on the information gathered from the employee, supervisor, and other individuals as appropriate, the DRC will make a determination about whether the accommodation requested is reasonable and will communicate its determination in writing to the employee and supervisor.

Examples of Reasonable Accommodations:

Sample Scenarios:

The following statements could be requests for accommodation. In these types of situations, please contact the DRC for consultation and/or refer the employee to the DRC.

  • “I have exhausted all of my FML, but my doctor has not released me to return to work. I need an additional month of leave.”
  • “My doctor has released me to return to work after my shoulder surgery, but I’m unable to lift 20 pounds for the next six weeks.”
  • “I recently started using hearing aids, but I am still having trouble hearing sometimes when I am using my office phone.”
  • “I’m having a hard time making it across campus for meetings because of my arthritis.”
  • “Because of some health issues, I’d like to be able to work from home once a week.”

As noted above, if it is part of your department’s typical practice to approve certain types of requests (e.g., to work remotely, receive additional leave, or receive light duty), you may approve these types of requests without referring an employee to the DRC.  However, please do not request or review employee medical documentation and before denying such a request, the employee should be referred to the DRC for consultation.