What SSU Employees Need to Know About Accommodations for Faculty and Staff

What does the law require regarding employment and disability?
The Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) requires most public and private employers to provide reasonable accommodations that enable qualified people with disabilities to perform the essential functions of their jobs. The ADA applies to recruitment, advertising, tenure, layoff, leave, fringe benefits and all other employment related activities.

How is disability defined?
An individual is considered to have a disability if s/he has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, has a record of such impairment, or is regarded as having such an impairment. Persons discriminated against because they have a known association or relationship with an individual with a disability also are protected.

Major life activities include seeing, hearing, speaking, walking, breathing, performing manual tasks, learning, caring for one’s self and working. A clinical diagnosis is not automatically synonymous with a disability. Evidence that specific symptoms are associated with substantial impairment in a major life activity is required for provision of accommodations.

Who is “a qualified person with a disability”?
A person who meets legitimate skill, experience, education or other requirements of an employment position that s/he holds or seeks, and who can perform “essential functions” of the position with or without reasonable accommodations.

What does “substantially limited mean”?
Substantially limits under ADA refer to significant restrictions as to the condition, manner or duration under which an individual can perform a particular major life activity as compared to most people. Whether a condition is substantially limiting to support an accommodation request is a decision made by qualified professional(s) based upon multiple sources of information.

What are “Essential Functions of a job”?
Fundamental job duties that the person must be capable of performing with reasonable accommodations if needed. The following are some of the reasons a function may be considered essential:

  • The position exists so that the function can be performed
  • There are a limited number of employees available to perform the function or that can share the function.
  • The function is highly specialized, and the person in the position is hired for his or her special expertise or ability to perform it.

What is “reasonable accommodation”?
Any modification or adjustment to a job or the work environment that will enable a qualified applicant or employee with a disability to participate in the application process or to perform essential job functions. It also includes adjustments to assure that a qualified individual with a disability has rights and privileges in employment equal to those of employees without disabilities.

Reasonable accommodations may include:

  • Making existing facilities used by employees accessible to and usable by an individual with a disability
  • Restructuring the job
  • Modifying the work schedule
  • Modifying the equipment or devices
  • Installing new equipment or devices
  • Providing qualified readers or interpreters
  • Appropriate modification of the application, examination procedures and training materials.

Accommodations must be reasonable, appropriate, and effective and supported by documentation of the disability. The purpose of accommodation is to provide access to perform the essential functions of the job.

Reasonable accommodations do NOT include:

  • Eliminating a primary job responsibility.
  • Lowering production standards that are applied to all employees.
  • Providing personal use items such as prosthetic limbs, eyeglasses or hearing aids.
  • Allowing anything that would be considered an undue hardship to the employer.
  • Excusing a violation of a uniformly applied conduct rule that is job related and consistent with business necessity (e.g.-violence, threats of violence, stealing, destruction of property)

How does a SSU employee apply for disability accommodations?

  • Contact Jacqueline Awe, Director of Student Development and set up an appointment to apply for accommodations.
  • Provide documentation of the disability that meets standards for documentation requirements. Specific Documentation Requirements for various types of disability are available in writing from Mrs. Jacqueline Awe.
  • Bring a copy of your job description so essential functions and how you are having difficulty meeting them can be discussed.
  • Discuss what reasonable accommodations you may feel would be appropriate to help you meet the essential functions of the job.
  • After you have been approved to receive accommodations, as determined by the University through this interactive process, you will receive a letter from Mrs. Jacqueline Awe confirming your approval. Mrs. Jacqueline Awe will also provide an accommodation letter to your supervisor and be available to help discuss and implement accommodations in a meeting with you and your supervisor.

What about my confidentiality?
Your confidentiality and privacy will be protected as much as reasonably possible. Only the minimum amount of information needed to explain your documented functional limitations to your supervisor and to implement the needed accommodations will be revealed to the appropriate professionals on a need to know basis.

Is there a fee for accommodations?
Accommodations are provided at no cost to the employee. However, employees are responsible for costs involved in obtaining documentation of their disability. Mrs. Jacqueline Awe may be able to refer you to affordable resources for assessment and documentation, if needed.

When can I apply for accommodations?
Job applicants and employees can request accommodation at any time during the application or during employment. However, a reasonable amount of advance notice is required to implement accommodations.

For more information, or to apply, contact:

Jacqueline Awe, LMSW
Director of Student Development
Disability Resource Center
King Frazier 233
Phone: 912 358 3114
Fax: 912 358 3630
Email: awej@savannahstate.edu