4650 Reasonable Accommodations (Disabled Employees)
Original Date: 11/1/1995 * Last Revision Effective: 5/21/2009
Policy Contact: Vice President, Human Resources
The Washington State Supreme Court has stated that employers have an obligation to reasonably accommodate employees who are mentally or physically incapacitated due to injury or illness (on or off the job) before any separation action is taken. Failure to reasonably accommodate a disabled employee constitutes discrimination.
Disabled individuals are defined by the State Human Rights Commission per WAC 162-22-020 as “persons with physical, mental, or sensory impairments that would impede that individual in obtaining and maintaining permanent employment and promotional opportunities. The impairments must be material rather than slight; static and permanent in that they are seldom corrected by medical replacement, therapy, or surgical means.”
These guidelines are intended to provide guidance to both the college and the individual in a case where reasonable accommodation is potentially indicated.
- These guidelines are to be used in conjunction with the applicable HEPB rules. For easy reference, the rules pertaining to reasonable accommodation are:
- WAC 251-10-070 Separation
- WAC 251-10-080 Reasonable Accommodation—Reemployment
- WAC 251-10-090 Reasonable Accommodation—Reemployment—Probationary Period
- WAC 251-17-090 Examination—Eligibility
- WAC 251-18-180 Eligible Lists—Definition—Composition
- WAC 251-19-100 Transfer—Lateral Movement—Voluntary Demotion
- WAC 251-19-105 Accommodation Due to Disability
- WAC 251-24-030 Training and Development Programs—Contents
In addition to use of these guidelines, employees are encouraged to contact the State Human Rights Commission for guidance pertaining to any reasonable accommodation issues or questions.
Responsibilities of the Employee
- An employee who is requesting reasonable accommodation will submit the request to his or her immediate supervisor.
- The request should state the nature of the disability and the accommodation desired.
- The request should be accompanied by a medical statement which provides the following information:
- pertinent diagnosis;
- anticipated duration of the disability;
- recommended accommodation and anticipated duration of the need for such accommodation.
Responsibilities of the College
- The college will make a good-faith effort to accommodate the employee according to the following procedures:
- Upon receipt of the employee’s request, the supervisor shall notify the appropriate unit administrator and the vice president of human resources.
- The vice president of human resources or his/her designee will schedule a personal interview with the employee to discuss, consider, and gain an understanding of the employee’s situation, capabilities, skills, knowledge, and employment interests. As part of the interview, the vice president of human resources shall review with the employee information regarding transfer, lateral movement, voluntary demotion (WAC 251-19-100), and separation of an employee due to mental, sensory, or physical incapacity (WAC 251-10-070), and shall supply copies of the appropriate rules if requested.
- Based on the request, medical statement, and interview, the vice president of human resources will propose an appropriate accommodation effort to the employee, supervisor, and unit administrator. The accommodation may include, but is not limited to, any of the following examples:
- Modification of the employee’s regular job duties and/or work schedule within the current position. Such modifications would enable the employee to perform the duties of the position.
- Assignment to a different position within the current class. The reassignment would enable the employee to perform the duties of the position.
- Opportunity to apply for other employment within the institution per WAC 251-17-090 and 251-01-415(1)(b).
- Temporary appointment in accordance with WAC 251-01-415(1) and (3) or exempt appointment in accordance with WAC 251-04-040(5).
- Leave of absence per WAC 251-22-165 or 251-22-167.
- If all of the affected persons are unable to agree on the appropriate accommodation, the vice president of human resources shall decide. That decision is subject to appeal under other procedures of the college.
- In the event that the employee is separated from the college, the vice president of human resources shall provide to the employee information pertaining to reemployment (WAC 251-10-080) and to the probationary period upon returning to work (WAC 251-10-090).
- The college will provide assistance to a former employee who is seeking reemployment, such as, but not necessarily limited to, the following:
- assessment of job classes for which the former employee is qualified;
- assistance regarding the employment/application process;
- placement on appropriate eligible lists through the competitive process per WAC 251-17-090(4);
- access to staff training programs relevant to job categories for which the former employee might become qualified.
- As appropriate to each situation, the vice president of human resources is responsible for providing the employee with information and copies of the rules regarding the following:
- examination and eligibility procedures and rules (WAC 251-17-090);
- definition and composition of eligible lists (WAC 251-18-80);
- training and development for returning employees (WAC 251-24-030).
- Dissemination. These guidelines shall be:
- posted on the personnel bulletin board;
- given to each new employee;
- given to any individual employee at the time of a request for accommodation;
- given to any other employee upon request.