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Information for Supervisors

In accordance with Policy 4075, all requests for reasonable employment accommodation must involve ADA and Accessibility Services, even if a department feels they are equipped to handle the accommodation request.

If an accommodation has already been made for an employee without consulting ADA and Accessibility Services, the department must contact the office immediately. A team member will work with the supervisor and the employee to ensure proper documentation and implementation of the accommodation agreement.

The Americans with Disabilities Act requires that an individual self-identify as an individual with a disability. Employers cannot require an employee to contact ADA and Accessibility Services or require that an employee accept an accommodation of any kind.

Maintaining employment standards

Employees are held to the same production, performance, and behavioral standards, regardless of whether or not they have an accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act. If the ability to perform marginal functions is affected by the disability, the employer must provide some type of reasonable accommodation such as job restructuring but may not exclude an individual with a disability who is satisfactorily performing a job's essential functions.

Health and safety considerations when hiring

The Americans with Disabilities Act permits employers to establish qualification standards that will exclude individuals who pose a direct threat-i.e., a significant risk of substantial harm-to the health and safety of the individual or of others, if that risk cannot be eliminated or reduced below the level of a direct threat by reasonable accommodation.

An employer, however, may not simply assume that a threat exists; the employer must establish through objective, medically supportable methods that there is significant risk that substantial harm could occur in the workplace. By requiring employers to make individualized judgments based on reliable medical or other objective evidence rather than on generalizations, ignorance, fear, patronizing attitudes, or stereotype, the Americans with Disabilities Act recognizes the need to balance the interests of people with disabilities against the legitimate interests of employers in maintaining a safe workplace.

Undue hardship

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, an undue hardship is defined as an action requiring significant difficulty or expense when considered in light of factors such as an institution’s size, financial resources, and the nature and structure of its operation.

While departmental and facility budgets will vary across the campus, this does not mean that an accommodation is automatically too expensive if it exceeds a specific operating budget. The law looks at Virginia Tech as a whole when making a determination of undue hardship, not a specific department.

Practices and policies

Learn more about the policies and processes used to help develop an accessible community that embraces and celebrates diversity.