Process for Addressing Employee Accommodations Needs and Ergonomic Concerns
- The employee brings his/her concern or request for accommodations to his/her supervisor.
- If the difficulty can be defined as a temporary occurrence, the supervisor will refer the employee to Human Resources. If the employee indicates that the problems are chronic and may be related to a disability, the employee is referred to the Director of Disability Resources and Services (DRS).
- If the employee is referred to DRS, the Director will request that the employee provide appropriate disability documentation. Disability documentation will be kept confidential and will not be stored in personnel files. The employee may elect to disclose the specific nature of their disability, but Human Resources and Disability Services will not disclose specific diagnoses and other medical information unless requested to do so by the employee through a release form. Supervisors will be given information regarding how the individual's disability may affect his/her ability to perform job tasks and what accommodations are necessary. If the employee is found to have a disability, reasonable accommodations will be recommended based on an assessment of the interaction between the employee's functional limitations and the essential functions of the job. Human Resources, Disability Services, the employee's supervisor and the employee may be involved in this process as necessary.
- If a disability-related accommodation is needed, DRS will usually pay the cost if it does not cause an undue hardship to Bethel. There are instances where the department should consider paying for the accommodation. A high percentage of accommodations will not involve any financial cost. Individual departments should consider paying for reasonable accommodations when:
The accommodation will benefit others in the department or will generally improve the work environment.
The department would have purchased the new technology or equipment even if the employee did not have a disability. In this case, DRS and the individual department may share the cost of the accommodation.
- If a non-disabled employee is referred to Human Resources for assistance, Human Resources may request medical information to document the need for ergonomic or other modifications. If departments/employees determine a work station ergonomic evaluation has been identified, they should contact Human Resources. If the medical documentation suggests that the individual may have a disability, Human Resources will consult with the Director of DRS to assist in making this determination and the employee may be referred to Disability Services. It is at the discretion of the individual departments to determine if they are able to pay for adjustments which are the result of medical conditions not defined as disabilities.