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Procedure 81: Reasonable Accommodation

This UCI Personnel Procedure is being revised.
Please contact your Human Resources Business Partner for guidance and

Responsible Office: Human Resources
April 2007

A. References

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA)

Personnel Policies for Staff Members

Personnel Procedures for UCI Staff Members

B. Authority and Responsibility

  1. The employee is responsible for requesting accommodation, providing medical documentation, and participating in the interactive process of determining reasonable accommodation.
  2. The supervisor defines the essential job functions and in consultation with the Disability and Rehabilitation Consultant discusses possible options. A reasonable accommodation is identified and implemented.
  3. In the event a reasonable accommodation cannot be provided within the home department, the Disability and Rehabilitation Consultant reviews medical documentation to determine the employee's functional limitations. The Disability and Rehabilitation Consultant commences alternate job search to place the employee in a position and an alternate department for up to 90 days at the expense of the home department. If a permanent accommodation is necessary and the home department is not able to accommodate, then the Disability and Rehabilitation Consultant consults with the Employment Recruiter to determine if the employee meets the minimum qualifications for current vacancies, as well as, for positions that have not been publicized (special selection) at the same salary range/grade or lower as the currently held position.
  4. The Disability and Rehabilitation Consultant and Employment Recruiter are responsible for referring the employee to vacancies for which the employee meets the minimum qualifications. If employee meets the minimum qualifications of the job and is not offered the position, the department head is required to document the reason(s) for non-selection.

C. Purpose

When a qualified individual with a mental or physical disability is, or becomes, unable to perform the essential, assigned duties of the currently held position as a result of a covered disability, the Irvine campus is committed to providing reasonable accommodation. The campus will explore reasonable accommodation options when an employee requests accommodation or indicates a need for accommodation due to a covered disability, or when the need for reasonable accommodation is obvious. Accommodation options will be considered in discussions with the employee. This is an interactive process that requires the active participation of the employee and his/her supervisor. Both parties are obligated to respond to reasonable requests for information in a timely manner and to meet and confer as needed.

E. Interactive Process and Accommodation Procedures

The interactive process is an ongoing dialogue between the employee, the supervisor, and Disability and Rehabilitation Consultant about possible options for reasonably accommodating the employee's disability.

An employee may start the interactive process by asking for an accommodation. A request for reasonable accommodation is a statement that an employee needs a work-related adjustment or change for a reason related to a mental or physical disability. A request may be made orally or in writing by the employee, or by someone on his or her behalf.

The supervisor should attempt to engage in the interactive process if he or she becomes aware of the disability and the possible need for an accommodation (e.g., an employee mentions a difficulty in performing work duties due to medical treatment for a health condition). Once the supervisor or Disability and Rehabilitation Consultant are informed or become aware of the need for an accommodation, the interactive process will be coordinated. The employee must respond to reasonable requests for information in a timely manner and must engage in the interactive process. The interactive process includes the following steps:

  1. Analyze the job requirements and identify essential and non-essential job functions.

    A job function is essential if the job exists to perform that function. For example, for a position as a proofreader, the ability to read documents accurately is an essential function because that is the reason the position exists. Additionally, a job function may be essential because of the limited number of employees available to perform the function, or among whom the function can be distributed.

  2. Identify job-related limitations by consulting with the employee and by reviewing documented functional limitations.

    The employee and his or her health care provider must provide documented information concerning the employee's work restrictions. A current job description that outlines essential and non-essential job functions must be used by the health care provider to determine functional capabilities information and as a basis for recommendations for the University to consider.

  3. Identify possible reasonable accommodations.

    Generally, a reasonable accommodation is one that effectively enables an employee to perform the essential functions of the job. The supervisor, Disability and Rehabilitation Consultant and the employee should identify possible reasonable accommodations. Examples include, but are not limited to:

    • Transfer of non-essential job functions to another employee
    • Ergonomic adjustments
    • Time off for medical visits
    • Modification of work tools or equipment
    • Modified work schedule
    • Leaves of absence
    • Assistive devices
    • Modification of existing facilities.

    When other accommodations are not effective, reassignment to an active, vacant position for which the employee is qualified with or without accommodations, may be required.

  4. Assess whether the proposed accommodation poses an undue hardship.

    The department need not provide a requested accommodation if to do so would pose an undue hardship. This determination is made on a case-by-case basis. Undue hardship is defined as any action requiring significant difficulty or expense, taking into account such factors as:

    • Nature and cost of the accommodation
    • Overall financial resources of the campus
    • Number of persons employed in the facility
    • Effect of the reasonable accommodation on resources
    • Impact of the accommodation on operations.

    No single factor is intended to have any particular weight. Rather, all the factors are considered together in determining whether providing an accommodation imposes an undue hardship on the department.

  5. Implement the reasonable accommodation.

    Once the reasonable accommodation is implemented, the employee and supervisor (and co-workers, where appropriate) should become fully familiar with any changes in their roles and responsibilities so that the accommodation plan may be fully realized.

  6. Monitor effectiveness of the reasonable accommodation.

    Any changes in circumstances, whether in the employee's condition or in workplace factors, may warrant a re-evaluation of the reasonable accommodation. For example, the receipt of new information regarding functional limitation generates a dialogue between the supervisor and the employee to determine next steps based on the new information.

    The interactive process is an ongoing obligation. If a given accommodation is not effective or no longer effective, the supervisor, the employee and Disability and Rehabilitation Consultant must continue to engage in the interactive process to identify possible alternatives, or additional accommodations.

  7. Documentation

    A written record should be kept of the interactive process and any reasonable accommodation that is considered and/or implemented.

F. Undue Hardship

The department head, in consultation with the Disability and Rehabilitation Consultant, will evaluate whether the requested accommodations constitute undue hardship and will consider the following points in making a determination:

  • The nature and cost of the accommodation.
  • The overall financial resources of the department, the number of employees in the department, and the effect on expenses and resources of the facility.
  • The type of operation of the employer, including the composition, structure, and functions of the workforce, the geographic separateness, and the administrative or fiscal relationship to the larger entity of the facility involved in making the accommodation.
  • The impact of the accommodation on the operation of the unit that is making the accommodation, including the ability of other employees to perform their duties.
  • If undue hardship applies, see Procedure 66, Medical Separation.

G. Special Selection

  1. Any employee who becomes disabled may be selected for a position which has not been publicized (see Staff Policy 20.B.3. Exceptions to Recruitment).
  2. An employee who becomes disabled may be selected for an open position for which they qualify, and may be considered for open positions over non-disabled applicants. The Disability and Rehabilitation Consultant and Employment representative will assist the disabled employee with alternate job placement.

H. Applicability

All staff members, except employees who are in a bargaining unit that has an exclusive representative (union) and are covered by the applicable provisions of the collective bargaining agreement.