Employee Disabilities Assistance

Contact: Michele Vieira
Office: 903-886-5025
Fax: 903-886-5670
Michele.Vieira@tamuc.edu

Texas A&M University-Commerce does not discriminate in the hiring and advancement of employees on the basis of disability.

The University is committed to compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and Sections 503/504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

A. Section 202 of the Americans with Disabilities Act:

"No Qualified individual with a disability shall, by reason of such disability, be excluded from the participation in or be denied the benefits of the services, programs or activities of any public entity, or be subject to discrimination by any such entity."

B. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act: "No otherwise qualified, handicapped individual in the United States shall solely by reason of handicap, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance."

The University is dedicated to providing reasonable accommodations to ensure equal access to employment and advancement opportunities for individuals with disabilities.  In some cases, it may be necessary to request verification of disability from an appropriately credentialed health care professional in order to determine an appropriate accommodation.  Some University positions may contain specific requirements which will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis in determining whether an otherwise qualified individual with a disability can perform the essential functions of the position.  Employment requirements defined as essential functions of positions by the State, TAMUS or the University or any related licensing or certification requirements are not regarded as discriminatory.

II. Procedures

The Chief Human Resource Officer is responsible for the coordination of requests from individuals with qualifying disabilities as defined by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Section 202 of the Americans with Disabilities Act.  The Chief Human Resource Officer is responsible for overseeing compliance with state and federal regulations and also provide consultation relative to complaints of discrimination or noncompliance.

A. Definition: Persons with Disabilities

The ADA broadly defines a covered disability in three different ways in terms almost identical to current federal law under the Rehabilitation Act.  Specifically, an individual has a covered disability if the individual either:

  1. "has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities of such individual"; or
  2. "has a record of such an impairment"; or
  3. "[is] regarded as having such an impairment."

B. Identification

The University is committed to a reasonable approach in the identification of individuals with qualifying disabilities.  Individuals requesting an accommodation may self-identify as having a disability at the time of hire or at any time during their employment. Medical records are always maintained in a file separate from the employee's personnel file.

C. Disability Documentation

Eligibility

A qualified individual with a disability may be requested, on a case-by-case basis, to provide documentation of the disability in order to receive necessary employment modification and/or reasonable accommodation.  Documentation must substantiate limitation(s) to major life activity.  Documentation of a qualifying disability may include, but not be limited to, a diagnosis by a qualified health care professional, a prognosis of the condition, the functional limitations imposed by a disability and recommendations for accommodations to enable the otherwise qualified employee to perform the essential functions of employment.

Types of Employment Adjustments

The University has an obligation to provide "reasonable accommodations" to applicants or employees with qualifying disabilities unless doing so creates an "undue hardship" for the University.

III. Determination and Provision of Reasonable Accommodation

A. The process of requesting a reasonable accommodation begins when an individual informs a supervisor, other University official or the ADA Coordinator of the need for an adjustment or change at work for a reason related to a qualified disabling condition.  The employer is entitled to know that the employee has a qualifying disability for which a reasonable accommodation is needed.  A qualified health care professional may be asked, on a case-by-case basis, to provide documentation with regard to physical or psychiatric disabilities.

B. When an employee requests an accommodation, the supervisor or University official shall contact the ADA Coordinator for consultation.  If the requested accommodation is based on an obvious disability, the department may provide the appropriate accommodation and notify the ADA Coordinator.  The ADA Coordinator may, on a case-by-case basis, request and review supporting documentation in assessing the request.  After assessment and consultation with the supervisor, the ADA Coordinator will confer with members of the University Disabilities Committee (appointed by the President) who shall determine the appropriateness of the recommended accommodation.  The ADA Coordinator will then make a recommendation to the supervisor and other appropriate University official in the department in which the employee is employed.  The department official or other appointing authority shall be responsible for implementing the approved accommodation as speedily as possible but in no case longer than 30 days unless extenuating circumstances prevail. Any delay in provision of reasonable accommodation shall be explained to the Disabilities Committee which retains authority to authorize any extension of time for implementing the accommodation. The cost of accommodation, if any, shall be borne equally by the dean, Vice President or other appointing authority and by a fund established for this purpose under the authority of the ADA Coordinator.

C. The ADA Coordinator shall monitor the implementation of the accommodation for the first 30 days of its execution.  If additional modifications are not required the ADA Coordinator shall put the file in an inactive status.

D. Requests for reconsideration of a reasonable accommodation decision made by the ADA Coordinator and/or the Disabilities Committee can be made directly to the Committee.  Appeals of a reasonable accommodation decision made by the ADA Coordinator and the Disabilities Committee shall be made to the Administrative Officer of the University, or to an individual designated by the President.  All allegations of discrimination which have their basis in the decisions of the ADA Coordinator and the Disabilities Committee shall be investigated and adjudicated by the Administrative Officer or by the president's designee.

E. The University shall be responsible for ensuring that the accommodation provided is an effective accommodation.