What is a workplace accommodation?
A workplace accommodation is a modification or adjustment to a job, the work environment, or the way in which a job is usually done that enables an individual with a disability who is otherwise qualified to perform a job, to attain the same level of performance and to enjoy the same benefits and privileges of employment.
What is the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and who is protected?
The ADA is a federal civil rights law which prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities. The employment provisions of the ADA prohibit employers from discriminating on the basis of disability and require employers to provide reasonable accommodations to individuals with disabilities who are qualified to perform a job. The ADA also requires public access and nondiscrimination by public entities, as well as enhances access to transportation and telecommunications.
What is considered a disability under the ADA?
Disability is defined as a physical or mental impairment that limits one or more of a person's major life activities, such as seeing, hearing, walking, standing, sitting, learning.
How do employees with disabilities request a workplace accommodation at Stanford?
Staff and faculty who wish to request an accommodation are responsible for beginning the process by requesting an accommodation from their immediate supervisor or Human Resources Officer. These requests should be in writing and should include the following information:
Will employees with disabilities be asked to provide verification of their disability if they request an accommodation?
Yes, the supervisor or Human Resources Officer may ask employees who have requested a workplace accommodation to provide verification of their medical or psychological condition from a health care professional to support their request. It may also be necessary to provide the health care professional with the employees' job description so that he or she can evaluate how the requested accommodation will assist the employee in performing his/her job.
How will the requested workplace accommodation be evaluated?
The supervisor or Human Resources Officer will meet with the employee and discuss the request individually and explain the process. After the supervisor or Human Resources Officer receives the verification of the medical or psychological condition from the health care professional, he or she will determine whether the condition is a disability under the ADA. If the condition is protected by the ADA, the supervisor or Human Resources Officer will then determine whether the requested workplace accommodation is appropriate and whether it will be effective in assisting the employee with the essential functions of their particular job.
What if the condition is not a disability under the ADA?
Temporary disabilities (such as Family Leave, Section 504 or Worker's Compensation) are not typically covered under the ADA, and neither are conditions that do not substantially limit a major life activity. While an employee may have a physical or mental impairment that may not be covered under the ADA, he or she could be protected under a variety of state or federal provisions (such as the Family Leave laws or Worker's Compensation insurance). If the supervisor or Human Resources Officer determines the condition is not covered by the ADA, he or she will continue to evaluate whether the requested workplace accommodation is covered under other laws or is operationally feasible given the needs of the department or program.
Where is an employee's disability-related information kept?
Disability-related information, including medical documentation, is treated as confidential and access is limited to protect an employee's privacy. Requests for workplace accommodations and accompanying documentation are kept separate from the local personnel file.
Where can an employee obtain more information about Stanford's policy and procedure related to the ADA and workplace accommodations?
Human Resources Offices:
Campus (650) 723-2191
Medical School (650) 725-8607
SLAC (650) 926-2354
ADA / Section 504 Compliance Office:
(650) 723-0755 (voice)
(650) 723-1216 (TTY)
Administrative Guide Memo:
23.5 - Requesting Workplace Accommodations for Employees with Disabilities [PDF]