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Appeals Process for COVID-19 Temporary Accommodation Request Determination

A University Appeals Committee, hereafter the “Committee” will review appeals made by employees, hereafter the “Appealing Party” when a COVID-19 Temporary Accommodation has been denied, or the Appealing Party does not agree with the determination.  Appeals must be filed with the Committee within five (5) business days of the accommodation determination.

Appeal Process

To appeal the accommodation determination, the Appealing Party must address in writing one or more of the following basis for appeal:

  • Identify the facts in the record which do not support the accommodation determination and explain why those facts warrant a different outcome.
  • Identify new facts that were not known and could not have been discovered during the interactive process and state how these new facts would change the analysis and decision.
  • The decision was arbitrary or capricious.

The Appealing Party must also identify any other internal University appeals, grievances or complaints that have been filed related to the same facts.

The Appealing Party should forward all appeals to the Office of Human Resources Management (HR) at occ-health-medicine@fordham.edu. NOTE: Please visit Fordham’s Email Encryption website and follow the process to safeguard and ensure the privacy of your medical information. 

It is within the discretion of the Committee to decline an appeal review when the Appealing Party does not provide sufficient information to detail any basis for the appeal.

Committee Composition and Review of Appeals

HR will maintain a rotating list of four nominees from each of the following three categories of employees:  Tenured Faculty (including Law School Faculty), Administrators of the title Director or above, and Professional Non-exempt employees.  Committee members will serve for a period of one semester.

Upon receipt of an appeal, HR will poll the list of the next available member from each group, and if not immediately available, the next name on the list will be contacted.  A committee member who is available from each group, shall be assigned to hear the appeal.  A representative from HR or Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) will make themselves available to the Committee to advise them on the possible basis for their consideration.

The Committee’s review will determine whether:

  • proper procedures were followed and all relevant information was gathered and fairly considered;
  • the requested accommodation fundamentally alters the nature of the essential functions of the position;
  • the requested accommodation presents an undue financial or administrative burden to the institution; and 
  • denial is supported by the record and was not arbitrary or capricious.

The Committee may request detailed information from the Appealing Party and the area that issued the determination, and may solicit additional information from or consult with those previously involved in the accommodation decision, the overall area head (Dean, Director, Provost or Designee), HR—Labor/Employee Relations Department, OLC, and/or others as appropriate.

Confidentiality will be maintained to the extent possible and the information will only be shared with the Committee on a “need to know” basis, if it appears necessary in order to decide the appeal.

Appeals will be decided on a majority vote of the Committee.  The potential outcomes of the appeal process may include:

  • The determination is upheld.
  • The determination is overturned and the Appealing Party and the relevant area return to the interactive process to determine implementation of the accommodation.
  • The Committee returns the issue to the interactive process to reevaluate reasonable accommodations under instructions of the Committee.
  • The appeal is dismissed for untimeliness or because insufficient information was provided by the Appealing Party initially or during the course of the review.

The Committee shall provide written notification of the appeal decision within five (5) business days to the Appealing Party, the area that originally made the determination, and other relevant parties (e.g., HR—Labor/Employee  Relations Department, OLC, Dean/Director, Department Chair, Provost etc.). If the five (5) business day time limit cannot be met, the Committee will inform the Appealing Party, the department, and relevant other parties of an alternative time limit, not to exceed an additional three (3) business days.

This is the final appeal process for accommodation determinations for employees.