Reasonable Accommodations for Faculty and Staff in Temporary Response to COVID-19

As Elon University implements its multi-phased Return to Work on Campus plan, we recognize faculty and staff members may have questions about the steps the university is taking to protect their health and safety in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Return to Work on Campus website includes important information about safety guidelines and protocols all Elon employees are expected to follow to reduce the risk of exposure of COVID-19 within our campus community. Elon recognizes that even with these campus-wide safety precautions, employees with disabilities[1], health issues, or those who may be at higher risk for developing complications associated with COVID-19 may require additional accommodations to reduce their risk of exposure while still performing their job duties.

Based on current guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), individuals in the following groups are at high-risk for severe illness from COVID-19:

  • People 65 years of age and older;
  • People of all ages with underlying medical conditions, particularly if not well controlled, including:
    • People with chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma;
    • People who have serious heart conditions;
    • People who are immunocompromised;
    • People with severe obesity;
    • People with diabetes;
    • People with chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis;
    • People with liver disease.

For the most up-to-date information for individuals who are at high-risk for severe illness from COVID-19, faculty and staff are encouraged to review the CDC website.

The process below describes the steps that employees should take to request accommodations related to COVID-19. This process aligns with the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act, as well as incorporates guidelines made by the CDC and state and local public health authorities. Elon also will consider employee requests for accommodations for other issues that may be impacted by COVID-19, such as a lack of available child care or living with an individual who may be at a higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19.

Process for Requesting Accommodations

  1. Faculty or staff member should initiate request with the office of Human Resources by completing the information on the COVID-19 Reasonable Accommodation Request form.
  2. Faculty or staff member may need to provide any necessary supporting medical documentation and/or permission for the ADA Coordinator or designee to speak directly with your healthcare provider(s) about your specific request by completing the medical information form. Please upload the completed medical information form using this secure link.
  3. ADA Coordinator or designee will gather relevant information from appropriate individuals identified as having a need to know, such as the individual’s supervisor or department head, keeping medical information confidential.
  4. Appropriate accommodation will be identified.
  5. ADA Coordinator or designee will communicate with all necessary impacted stakeholders, providing only the minimum details necessary to implement the accommodation and will facilitate the accommodation being made.
  6. ADA Coordinator or designee will work with the requesting faculty or staff member to establish a timeline to review the accommodation effectiveness.
  7. If a request is not approved, ADA Coordinator or designee will communicate the factors utilized in the decision and explore options for leave usage with the faculty or staff member.

Notes

  • COVID-19 related accommodation(s) are based on local, state, and federal guidance along with CDC guidelines.
  • Information regarding this accommodation request is confidential and will only be shared as needed with the appropriate personnel to consider the implementation of a reasonable accommodation. Information related to an accommodation request will not be placed in your employment file. All medical documentation will be kept confidential.

[1] For the purposes of the ADA, the term “disability” means, with respect to an individual–a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities of such individual; a record of such an impairment; or being regarded as having such an impairment.

 

FAQs

What is the ADA?

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 is a federal law which generally forbids disability-based discrimination.

What is a reasonable accommodation?

A reasonable accommodation is any adjustment to a job, employment process or practice, or to the work environment that permits a qualified individual with a disability to participate in the application process, to perform the essential functions of a job, or to enjoy the benefits of employment in a manner equal to that enjoyed by other applicants or employees, provided that it does not present an undue hardship to the business or academic needs of the University. Determining a reasonable accommodation often requires balancing between the accommodations an employee desires to meet the job’s requirements, and the investment and modifications an employer has to make to accomplish the accommodations and requires consideration of essential job functions, business needs, and an employer’s resources.

Can I bring someone with me when I meet with the ADA Coordinator or designee?

Employees may be accompanied by a support person when they meet with the ADA Coordinator or designee.

How does HR address confidentiality?

Disability-related information is to be treated as medical information. For example, University faculty and staff do not have a right or a need to access diagnostic or other information regarding the disability of an employee or applicant; they only need to know what accommodations are necessary or appropriate to meet the individual’s disability-related needs. If an employee has requested an accommodation, the individual will be informed as to what information is being provided to the department or supervisor regarding the request. To protect confidentiality by assuring limited access, all disability-related information must be filed with appropriate offices and kept separate from any other files. Departments or individuals should not keep any copies of such documentation within departments or offices.