Job Restructuring and Light Duty

Job restructuring includes redistributing marginal job functions and altering how a job function is performed. For example, if an employee is responsible for occasionally carrying heavy boxes upstairs in a building with no elevator but is no longer able to do so because of a disability or pregnancy, that job function could be redistributed to another employee as an accommodation. Alternatively, if an employee is responsible for occasionally delivering heavy boxes on the same floor, the University could provide a rolling cart as an accommodation.

Requests for job restructuring accommodations are sometimes similar to requests for “light duty.” The University has a Light Duty Placement Policy. Supervisors may approve requests for light duty without consulting the DRC. However, if a supervisor is unable to approve a request for light duty, s/he should refer the employee to the DRC to explore whether the request could be implemented as a reasonable accommodation.

The permanent elimination or redistribution of “essential job functions” is not available as a reasonable accommodation. The DRC considers the following factors identified by the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) when determining whether a job function is essential:

  • whether the reason the position exists is to perform that function
  • the number of other employees available to perform the function or among whom the performance of the function can be distributed
  • the degree of expertise or skill required to perform the function
  • the actual work experience of present or past employees in the job
  • the time spent performing a function
  • the consequences of not requiring that an employee perform a function

For more information, contact a DRC Workplace Access staff member.