Human Resources

Employee Disability Accommodation Policy

Section: Human Resources Policies
Policy Name: Employee Disability Accommodation Policy
Policy Owner: Executive Vice President
Responsible University Office: Office of Human Resources
Origination Date: November 2016
  1. SCOPE OF POLICYThis policy applies to qualified employees with a disability in need of a reasonable accommodation to perform the essential functions of their position.
  2. DEFINITIONSQualified employee with a disability: an employee who meets the skill, experience, education and other job related requirements of the position the employee currently holds or is trying to obtain and who is able to perform the essential functions of that position, with or without reasonable accommodations and who 1) has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, 2) has a record of a physical or mental impairment or 3) is regarded as having a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.
  3. POLICY STATEMENTThe University of Delaware complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), as amended by the ADA Amendments Act, and all applicable federal, state and local fair employment practices laws, and is committed to providing equal employment opportunities to qualified individuals with disabilities. Consistent with this commitment, the University will provide a reasonable accommodation to qualified employees with a disability if the reasonable accommodation would allow the individual to perform the essential functions of the job, unless doing so would create an undue hardship on the University.
  4. POLICY STANDARDS AND PROCEDURESThe following procedures shall apply when an employee requests a reasonable accommodation to perform the essential duties of their position:
    1. Employee requests an accommodation. Employees who believe they need an accommodation because of their disability are responsible for requesting a reasonable accommodation from the Office of Disability Support Services (“DSS”).

      Employees may make the request orally or in writing. However, the University encourages employees to make an appointment with DSS to begin the process for requesting an accommodation.  DSS can be reached via telephone at (302) 831-4643 or email at

    2. Initial meeting: Employees will complete an intake form with DSS and should also bring with them any supporting documentation regarding their disability, as well as a copy of their job description. All documentation will be reviewed by DSS through an interactive process with the employee. General guidelines regarding documentation can be found on the DSS website at
    3. Job analysis and identification of accommodations: After receiving the employee’s oral or written request, the University, through DSS, will engage in an interactive dialogue with the employee to determine the precise limitations of the employee’s disability and explore potential reasonable accommodations that could overcome those limitations. DSS should consult with the employee’s supervisor throughout the interactive process. The University encourages employees to suggest specific reasonable accommodations that the employee believes would allow the employee to perform the employee’s job.  The employee is responsible for providing medical and vocational information to help in determining a reasonable accommodation.  If the information provided is insufficient, the University may ask for additional documentation or may require that the employee see a health care professional of the University’s choosing, at the University’s expense.  If the employee fails to provide the requested information or see the designated health care professional, the employee’s request for a reasonable accommodation may be denied.  The University is not required to make the specific accommodation requested by the employee and may provide an alternative, effective accommodation, to the extent any reasonable accommodation can be made without imposing an undue hardship on the University.

      NOTE:  An employee is not required to take leave to accommodate pregnancy, or a pregnancy-related condition, if there is another reasonable accommodation that can be provided to the known limitations related to the pregnancy of the employee.

    4. Implement accommodations: Once a reasonable accommodation has been determined, the accommodation should be implemented expeditiously. The employee and their supervisor will receive a letter from DSS outlining the individual’s accommodations. A letter will also remain on file with DSS. HR will NOT receive a copy of this letter, as the employee’s DSS file is separate from the employee’s HR file.
    5. Monitor accommodations. It is the employee’s responsibility to notify DSS and/or their supervisor if the accommodation is no longer working or is no longer needed.
    6. Denial of reasonable accommodations. If the University denies the employee’s request for an accommodation, the employee will be notified in writing with the reasons for the denial. An employee who believes that he/she is being, or has been, subjected to discrimination due to his or her disability should discuss the matter with his/her supervisor/advisor, if appropriate, or directly contact DSS for confidential support, information and possible informal resolution. Please also see, the University’s Unlawful Harassment policy, and Exempt Staff Grievance Procedures policy or Non-exempt Staff Grievance Procedures policy.
    7. No retaliation.  The University expressly prohibits any form of discipline, reprisal, intimidation or retaliation against any individual for requesting an accommodation in good faith or for disclosing the existence of a disability.