ADA for Employers
The Americans with Disabilities Act,the Rehabilitation Act (through the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs), and the Missouri Human Rights Act provide protections against disability-based discrimination. These laws also require MU to provide reasonable accommodations for otherwise qualified people with disabilities in the workplace. Because the University is a major federal contractor, MU must also take affirmative action to employ qualified individuals with disabilities and advance them in employment.
Regarding employment and the workplace, departments and employers should keep the following in mind.
- Consider the person, not the disability.
- The person must have a disability and be otherwise qualified.
- An employer must provide reasonable accommodations for a qualified individual with disability, unless providing the accommodations would be an undue hardship.
- In considering accommodations, consult the person with the disability.
- Generally, it is the employee's responsibility to identify himself or herself as a person with a disability and to request an accommodation.
- There are many hidden disabilities (for example, learning disabilities and epilepsy).
- The vast majority of disability discrimination complaints are filed by incumbent or terminated employees.
- Chronic employee illnesses, injuries, and stress, whether or not job-related, may be disabilities covered by the ADA.
- Respect confidentiality.
- Document your actions.
What is a reasonable accommodation?
Reasonable accommodation is a modification or adjustment to a job, employment practice, or the work environment that makes it possible for a qualified individual with a disability to enjoy an equal employment opportunity. The University will provide a reasonable accommodation to the known disability of qualified applicant or employee with a disability unless the accommodation would impose an undue hardship. Examples of reasonable accommodations may include, but are not limited to:
- job restructuring
- modified work schedules
- obtaining or modifying equipment or devices
- modifying examinations, training materials or policies
- providing qualified readers and interpreters
- reassignment to a vacant position
- making facilities readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities
When and how does the University provide reasonable accommodations?
The University is obligated to ma kea reasonable accommodation only to the known disability of an otherwise qualified employee or student. In general, it is the responsibility of the employee or student to make the disability status and subsequent need for an accommodation known to the appropriate University official.
Employees may make a request through their supervisor or the office of the ADA Coordinator. In addition, job accommodation requests are sometimes made through Human Resource Services, the Employee Assistance Program, worker’s compensation, or elsewhere. The ADA Coordinator can assist in evaluating and,as needed, implementing job accommodation requests from these sources as well.
Once on notice of the need for accommodations, it is the responsibility of the University official and the individual with a disability to discuss possible accommodations and assess the reasonableness and effectiveness of each potential accommodation. Determinations regarding accommodations on campus will be made on a case-by-case basis. Determining a reasonable accommodation is very fact-specific.
In general, the accommodation must be tailored to address the nature of the disability and the needs of the individual within the context of the requirements of the job. If there are two or more possible accommodations, and one costs more or is more burdensome than the other, the University will give primary consideration to the preference of the individual with a disability; however, the University may choose the less expensive or burdensome accommodation as long as it is effective.
Employment accommodation costs are shared equally among the employing department, the school/college or major administrative unit where the employee works, and the Office of the Provost.
The Committee for Persons with Disabilities and others are working to encourage centralized funding for employment accommodations, as is the case for students, but this has not yet been accomplished.