Skip to main content

Procedure for Requesting a Reasonable Accommodation

Job Applicants
Hiring managers are not permitted to ask applicants whether they have a disability or other conditions/circumstances that may require an accommodation or ask any questions regarding the nature of a disability or other conditions/circumstances disclosed by the applicant. Hiring managers may ask applicants whether they are able to perform the essential functions of the job they applied for – with or without accommodation. If an applicant indicates that he or she can perform the essential functions with accommodation, the University may inquire about the accommodation needed.

Job applicants who request accommodations for a disability must present to the Office of Human Resources Management documentation of a qualifying disability from a certified and/or licensed health care provider. Such documentation should provide sufficient information to allow the Office of Human Resources Management to determine eligibility for a requested accommodation. If necessary, Fordham may consult with a health care provider to the extent applicable under the law.

Employees, Independent Contractors and Freelancers
Employees of the University, independent contractors or freelancers may request a workplace accommodation due to a disability, for a temporary injury, or medical condition, as well as for needs related to pregnancy, lactation, religious observances, and status as victims of domestic violence, sexual offenses, or stalking. The individual must submit supporting medical or other relevant documentation to the Office of Human Resources Management to determine eligibility for a requested accommodation. If necessary, Fordham may consult with a health care provider to the extent allowable under the law.

Reasonable Accommodation Process
Step 1– Job applicants, employees, independent contractors and freelancers, may apply for an accommodation by completing the Reasonable Workplace Accommodation Request Form.

Step 2 – If applicable, individuals may be required to provide relevant medical information from an appropriate health care professional demonstrating eligibility for a reasonable accommodation. The individual should submit the Reasonable Workplace Accommodation Request Form, along with the Medical Information Request Form with a HIPAA Release form.

Step 3 - A Human Resources’ Representative will review the request for accommodation taking into consideration all relevant information including but not limited to, the essential functions of the individual’s job, the limitations of the individual’s disability or situation/circumstances, and the reasonableness of the accommodation request. In order to evaluate the information provided by the individual and/or their health care provider, the University may, to the extent permitted by law, consult with the individual’s health care providers as well as the University’s Occupational Medicine Consultant and such other University personnel as it deems necessary.

Step 4 - If more than one alternative accommodation would be reasonable and effective, the University will engage in an interactive dialogue, as described below. The ultimate selection of the reasonable accommodation to be implemented, however, will be made by the University.

The need for a reasonable accommodation may, and often does change. Therefore, the University reserves the right to annually request supporting documentation from employees, contractors, and freelancers, to establish their eligibility for an accommodation, or more frequently as it deems appropriate.

Interactive Process and Cooperative Dialogue
The law requires that Fordham engage in an “interactive process” or a “cooperative dialogue” with an individual who requests a workplace accommodation. The process may be carried out in writing and/or verbally and will include discussion of the individual’s accommodation needs; potential accommodations that may address such needs, alternatives to a requested accommodation; and other relevant factors when considering the implementation of a potential accommodation.

Fordham University will engage in the “interactive process” or “cooperative dialogue” in good faith and within a reasonable amount of time.

Upon reaching a final determination at the conclusion of a cooperative dialogue, Fordham University will provide the individual requesting an accommodation with a written final determination identifying any accommodation granted or denied.

Fordham University may deny a request for reasonable accommodation if it is concluded that such request would lower performance standards of the position or if it would impose an undue hardship to the University. Undue hardship may be an action requiring significant difficulty or expense when considered in light of factors such as employer’s size, financial resources and whether the accommodation would substantially alter the nature and the structure of its operation or fundamentally alter the position sought or held by the individual with a disability.

Financial Responsibility for Reasonable Accommodation
Cost of a requested accommodation will be the financial responsibility of the unit in which the individual is working or will be hired to perform their duties. If the unit does not have the financial resources from its own budget, the unit should submit the request to the area Vice President.

Confidentiality
All documentation and information shared by individuals who are requesting a workplace accommodation will be maintained by the Office of Human Resources Management and will only be shared to the extent that it is needed to determine whether to approve and implement the accommodation.

Medical documentation will be kept separate from an employee’s personnel file and will be accessible only to designated Human Resources representatives and Fordham’s occupational and health partners.

Appeals/Grievance Procedure
Complaints regarding application of this policy should be forwarded, in writing, directly to the Vice President for Human Resources. Appeals on a final workplace accommodation determination must be filed within 5 business days from the conclusion of the accommodation request.

Nothing in this policy should be construed to impede or prohibit a timely filing of a discrimination complaint with the appropriate external government agency. This policy and procedure also do not prohibit a timely filing of an internal discrimination complaint, unrelated to a request for an accommodation, with the Office of Human Resources Management.

Definitions

Disability refers to a physical, medical, mental or psychological impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of an individual. An individual who has such impairment, has a record for such impairment, or is regarded as having such impairment will be deemed an “individual with a disability” under this policy, whether the disability is visible and apparent or not.

Essential Job Duties are the fundamental function(s) of the position or the primary reason the position exists.

Interactive Process is the process by which an employer and an individual requesting an accommodation, engage in good faith in a written and/or oral dialogue concerning the person’s accommodation needs; potential accommodations that may address the person’s accommodation needs, alternatives to a requested accommodation; and other relevant factors when considering the implementation of a potential accommodation.

Accommodations related to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical condition. A job applicant or employees needs related to pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions to enable them to continue working and/or return to work following childbirth.

Reasonable Accommodation. A change or modification to the job application process or work environment to enable a qualified individual to be considered for, and perform, the essential duties of the position unless doing so would create an undue hardship for the employer. Reasonable accommodation does not require lowering performance standards or providing items for personal use of convenience.

Religious accommodations. A change or modification to the job application process or work environment to allow an individual to practice or observe their sincerely held religious faith, including the observance of the Sabbath and other holy days.

Undue hardship. An action requiring significant difficulty or expense when considered in light of factors such as the employer’s size, financial resources and cost of the accommodation, or whether the modification is substantial, disruptive, or would fundamentally alter the nature or operation of the University’s business, or the essential functions of the employee’s job.

Victims of domestic violence, sex offenses, or stalking. Individuals who are or have been subject to certain acts or threats of violence as defined by the criminal law from a current or former partner or spouse, an individual with whom the victim/survivor shares a child in common; an individual who is living with or has lived with the victim/survivor.

Cross-Reference to Related Policies

Exclusions and Special Situations

This policy does not apply to students.

Revision History

No previous policies.