Reasonable Accommodation Process in Employment

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Information on this page focuses on disability and employment and pertains to current Stockton employees and applicants for employment at Stockton University.

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended (42 U.S.C. 126 §12102 et seq.), the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (N.J.A.C. 4A:7-3.1 & 3.2), and Stockton University’s Policy Prohibiting Discrimination in the Workplace prohibit discrimination because of disability. 

A disability is a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a history or record of such an impairment, or is perceived by others as having such an impairment. 42 U.S.C. 126 §12102(1)

Any applicant with a disability may request an accommodation to facilitate full participation in the application and interview process.

A qualified individual with a disability is one who can perform the essential functions of the job position sought or held, with or without reasonable accommodation. 

Any current employee with a disability may request reasonable accommodations to perform one or more essential functions of the job position held.  Documentation of disability is usually provided by the employee’s medical provider and presented to the Office of Human Resources by the medical provider or the employee. The interactive process begins when the employee with a disability requests a reasonable accommodation to perform one or more essential functions of the job held.

The Office of Human Resources works with the ADA-504 Coordinator who manages and oversees the ADA accommodation request and interactive process, providing reasonable accommodation decisions to the employee’s manager and the Office of Human Resources.

How to Request a Reasonable Accommodation

An applicant for employment may request a reasonable accommodation at any time, orally or in writing. All requests for accommodation can be directed to Stockton's Recruitment Manager by calling 609-652-4384.

A current employee may request a reasonable accommodation at any time, orally or in writing, to the Office of Human Resources who will then forward the medical documentation to the ADA-504 Coordinator.

The Reasonable Accommodation Request Form must be completed by the employee.  The employee requesting accommodation must also provide permission for the ADA-504 Coordinator to contact the employee’s medical provider, if needed, to assist in determining a reasonable accommodation.  The medical provider completes the Medical Provider Authorization Release Form.

A request for an accommodation also can be made by an employee representative (e.g. family member). If the request comes through a third party, the request should be confirmed with the employee.

Frequently asked Questions

Major life activities include, but may not be limited to, walking, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, seeing, hearing, caring for oneself, and performing manual tasks.  Major life activities also include major bodily functions. 42 U.S.C. 126 §12102(2)

The interactive process is a collaborative effort between the employee and ADA-504 Coordinator to discuss the need for a reasonable accommodation as well as identify effective accommodation solutions.

A reasonable accommodation is specific to the employee’s documented disability and the essential functions of the employee’s current job description. A reasonable accommodation is determined on a case-by-case basis and secured through the interactive process.

The ADA provides examples of reasonable accommodations that include, but may not be limited to, making existing facilities readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities, to job restructuring, modified work schedules, reassignment to a vacant position, acquisition or modification of equipment or devices, provision of qualified readers or interpreters. 42 U.S.C. 126 §12111(9)

A work modification is a temporary modification requested by an employee. The work modification can be to employee’s work schedule, shift, environment, for example, afforded to an employee by the employee’s manager. The employee’s request may be due to a documented school closure, a documented medical issue that does not meet the definition of disability, or for other reasons. 

A reasonable accommodation is specific to the employee’s documented disability and the essential functions of the employee’s current job description. A reasonable accommodation is determined on a case-by-case basis and secured through the interactive process. 

Sometimes an applicant or an employee may ask for an accommodation that is not reasonable or necessary, that poses an undue hardship requiring significant difficulty or expense on the institution. In order to determine whether an accommodation would impose an undue hardship, the institution will consider the nature and cost of the accommodation and other consideration factors prescribed under the ADA.

The elimination of one or more essential functions of an employee’s job description is not a reasonable accommodation.

University Procedure 6153 describes five types of leave time: vacation, administrative leave, compensatory leave, donated leave, jury duty. An employee who takes any of the five leave types described in the Procedure 6153 would not be working. Reasonable accommodations are provided to assist a qualified employee with a disability in performing the essential functions of the job held.

Additionally, an employee may take family leave under the New Jersey Family Medical Leave Act (N.J.S.A. 34:11B-1, et seq.) to care for a child or other family member.

Related University Policies

  • I-67 Disability, Accessibility, and Reasonable Accommodation
  • I-125 Service Animals and Emotional Support Animals

Related University Procedures

  • 3990 Service Animal Procedure, Student and Community Procedure
  • 6950 Internal Procedure for Disability, Accessibility, and Accommodation

COVID-19 or Its Variant and Reasonable Accommodation

According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, it is unclear at this time whether COVID-19 is or could be a disability under the ADA. Regardless of whether COVID-19 is or could be a disability, remember that an employer may bar an employee with the disease from entering the workplace at this time because of direct threat. Employers should continue to take actions involving persons with COVID-19, or who may have COVID-19, based on the most current guidance available from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and other public health authorities. Source: Transcript of March 27, 2020 EEOC Outreach Webinar

If an employee is diagnosed with COVID-19 or its variant and is asymptomatic, the employee may be permitted to work from home, which is considered a work modification determined by the Office of Human Resources.

All employee requests for ADA accommodations are reviewed and evaluated on a case-by-case basis. 

According to the EEOC, the CDC has identified a number of medical conditions -- including, for example, chronic lung disease and serious heart conditions -- as potentially putting individuals at higher risk. Therefore, this is clearly a request for reasonable accommodation, meaning it is a request for a change in the workplace due to a medical condition.

Because the ADA would not require an accommodation where the employee has no disability, the employer may verify that the employee does have a disability, as well as verifying that the accommodation is needed because the particular disability may put the individual at higher risk. There could also be situations where accommodations are requested because a current disability is exacerbated by the current situation.

Again, the employer can verify the existence of the disability and discuss both why an accommodation is needed and the type of accommodation that would meet the employee's health concerns. In either situation, and as with any requests for reasonable accommodation, an employer may also consider whether a reasonable accommodation would pose an undue hardship, meaning the employer may assess whether a specific form of accommodation would pose significant expense or significant difficulty. 

Source: Transcript of March 27, 2020 EEOC Outreach Webinar

The answer is of course no.  Any time an employee requests a reasonable accommodation, the employer is entitled to understand the disability-related limitation that necessitates an accommodation . . . If there is no disability-related limitation that requires teleworking, then of course the employer does not have to provide telework as an accommodation. Or if there is a disability-related limitation, but the employer can effectively address the need with another form of reasonable accommodation at the workplace, then the employer can choose that alternative to telework.

To the extent that an employer is permitting telework to employees because of COVID-19 and is choosing to excuse an employee from performing one or more essential functions, then a request -- after the COVID-19 crisis has ended -- to continue telework as a reasonable accommodation does not have to be granted if it requires continuing to excuse the employee from performing an essential function. This is because the ADA never requires an employer to eliminate an essential function as an accommodation for an individual with a disability. 

The fact that an employer temporarily excused performance of one or more essential functions during the COVID-19 crisis to enable employees to telework for the purpose of protecting their safety, or otherwise chose to permit telework, does not mean that the employer has permanently changed a job's essential functions, or that telework is a feasible accommodation, or that it does not pose an undue hardship. These are fact-specific determinations.

The employer has no obligation under the ADA to refrain from restoring all of an employee's essential duties after the immediate crisis has passed, or at such time as it chooses to restore the prior work arrangement, and then evaluating any requests for continued or new accommodations under the usual ADA rules.

Source: Transcript of March 27, 2020 EEOC Outreach Webinar