How to: Provide a Reasonable Accommodation

UC Irvine provides reasonable accommodations1 through an interactive process2 for individuals with disabilities3 who cannot perform the essential functions of a job4.

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A. Definitions

1 Reasonable Accommodation: an adjustment to a job, or to physical tools and surroundings, or a provision of assistance, that will enable an employee to perform the essential functions of their position without imposing an undue hardship on the operation of the employer’s business.

2 The Interactive Process: The interactive process is an ongoing dialogue between the appointee and appropriate representatives of the University about possible options for reasonably accommodating an appointee with a disability

3 An Individual with a Disability is a person who:

  • Has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities
  • Has a record of such an impairment; or
  • Is regarded as having such impairment.

4 Essential Functions of a job or position:  “Essential functions” means the fundamental job duties of the employment position.  A job function may be considered essential for a variety of reasons including:

  • The reason the position exists is to perform that function
  • The function may be essential because of the limited number of employees available among whom the performance of that job function can be distributed
  • The function may be highly specialized, so that the incumbent in the position is hired for his or her expertise or ability to perform the particular function.
B. Department Chair Responsibilities

Dean included in process, as deemed necessary

1. Familiarize yourself with the applicable policy and Interactive Process Checklist
  1. Review the Interactive Process Checklist. help.fw

  2. Review the policy for:
    • Reasonable Accommodation for Academic Appointees with Disabilities APM 711.

2. Begin the essential functions of a job4
  1. Chair either learns of a need for an accommodation or receives a written request for a reasonable accommodation (can be made by employee, third party on behalf of employee, or a representative of the employee).

  2. Start completing the Interactive Process Checklist. help.fw

  3. Identify the essential and non-essential functions of the job. See appropriate academic series, for example, APM 210-1-d for Professor Series.

All steps of the interactive process must be documented.
3. Provide the employee with written notice of request for medical documentationAsk the employee for documentation from a licensed healthcare provider that outlines functional limitations.
4. Work with Chief Personnel Officer (CPO), Disability Management Consultant, Academic Personnel, and include employee:
  • Review documentation outlining functional limitations; and

  • Research possible accommodations, including working with Academic Personnel to discuss accommodation options that involve leaves or changes to appointments

  1. Arrange an interactive process meeting with the employee to review and participate in identifying a reasonable accommodation.

  2. Review employee’s functional limitations and analyze the job requirements.

  3. Explore job modifications and/or alternate work that could be performed.

  4. Per medical documentation, determine whether the request is temporary or permanent.

  5. Identify possible temporary or permanent work that complies with the certified medical documentation.

Note: The Chair and/or Dean should not contact the employee’s physician directly.  If clarification is needed, ask the employee to contact their physician or seek assistance from the Disability and Rehabilitation Consultant.
5. CPO obtains necessary approvals from Dean and/or Vice Provost when an accommodation requires approval beyond departmental level
  1. Disability Management Consultant drafts Reasonable Accommodation Agreement for Chair/Dean to review.

  2. Chair briefs Dean about proposed Reasonable Accommodation.

  3. If Vice Provost approval is needed, Chair and/or Dean prepares brief cover memo to forward with the draft Reasonable Accommodation Agreement for Vice Provost review.

6. Department implements reasonable accommodation and monitors its effectiveness
  1. Complete Reasonable Accommodation Agreement. See sample agreement.

  2. Review and sign Reasonable Accommodation Agreement with employee and provide copies to the Dean and Vice Provost.

  3. Follow up with employee regularly to ensure that the accommodation is successful.

7. If accommodation requires revisions, contact Disability and Rehabilitation Consultant, (949) 827-9756,
  1. Arrange an interactive process meeting between the Disability & Rehabilitation Consultant and your employee at an agreed upon location.

  2. Identify what was not working previously with the employee.

  3. Participate in identifying a reasonable accommodation.

  4. Obtain approval from the Dean and/or Vice Provost, as appropriate (see Step 6. above).

  5. Review and sign an amended Reasonable Accommodation Agreement with the employee and provide copies to the Dean and Vice Provost. See sample agreement.

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