Requesting Work-Related Accommodations at UMBC: Procedures

The Office of Accessibility & Disability Services (ADS) assists with employment-related requests for disability-based accommodations, including facilitation of the interactive process, to determine an individual’s access needs and identify the appropriate reasonable accommodation for the workplace. Initial inquiries from faculty, staff, student employees (including work-study and graduate assistants), and their Chairs/Supervisors are welcome.

As we resume campus-based operations in 2022, ADS services are available both in-person and virtually given COVID-19 worksite shifts for employees who both telework and are returning to work in-person on campus.

GETTING STARTED:

Individuals may complete the “Reasonable Accommodation Request form ” that is available on the ADS website located at: https://accessibility.umbc.edu/employment-accommodation-request-form/.

The ADA/Section 504 Coordinator & Accessibility Manager may be reached via email at slazar@umbc.edu, or by calling (410) 455-5745 for any disability, accessibility, and accommodation questions or concerns.

COVID-19 NOTES: 

Please note that UMBC requires vaccination and booster shots of all students and employees and that the health and safety of our community remains a priority.

Detailed information about COVID-19 vaccination at UMBC is linked here. KN95 or equivalent face masks are required within all classrooms, PCR testing upon in-person return is also required, and social distancing is encouraged. 

EMPLOYEE ACCOMMODATION PROCESS:

  • Requests for accommodations should be made far enough in advance to allow the ADS Accessibility Manager adequate time to review the request, facilitate the interactive process, and to coordinate the implementation of approved accommodation.
  • Within five (5) business days of receipt of a request for reasonable accommodation, the ADS Manager will initiate the interactive process by reviewing the Reasonable Accommodation Request Form, communicating with the requesting employee regarding the accommodation request, scheduling an intake meeting, obtaining supporting documentation, and discussing potential next steps.
  • Supporting documentation from an appropriately licensed health care professional may be required to establish that the individual has a health condition that qualifies as a disability and to determine an effective accommodation. Employees are encouraged to share the essential functions of their job description with their health care provider to provide context for supportive documentation. Position descriptions are generally available upon request from Human Resources, which may further inform a health care provider’s assessment of limitations and potential employment-related accommodation.
  • The licensed health care provider’s documentation may be an existing document from the employee, and a variety of formats are accepted. UMBC’s Health Care Provider Inquiry Form, while not required, outlines the type of information being sought. This form can be given to your medical provider to document health condition impact(s). Original documentation, once received, will be maintained in the employee’s separate, confidential health file in HR. Supplemental information may be requested to further support the accommodation request if the employee’s submitted documentation is insufficient to determine reasonable accommodation and nexus between the disability limitation and essential position funtions.
  • Employees may sign a “Consent to Release of Information” form to facilitate the confidential sharing of accommodation-related information between the health care provider and the ADS Manager in regards to the employee’s limitations in the context of the essential functions of their position.
  • Personal health information (e.g. diagnosis) is not shared by the ADS Manager with the department, though disability status and functional limitations related to the performance of essential work functions are shared on a need-to-know basis as part of accommodation communication and implementation.
  • The ADS Manager will seek input from the employee’s supervisor/chair and other departments that may inform accommodation as related to the employee’s position/work role, which may include Human Resources, Facilities Management, and DoIT, if relevant, during the interactive process. When assistive technology is sought, a device may be requested from the Maryland Technology Assistance Program (MDTAP) or a similar technology loan program to discern efficacy. The ADS Manager will work with the supervisor or department head if there is a concern about undue hardship related to accommodation implementation and the procedures for implementing approved accommodations.
  • The ADS Manager may approve a modified or alternative accommodation in place of the requested accommodation if access and effectiveness can be met. The manager will also review existing resources, processes, and supports that are generally available to all campus members.
  • At the conclusion of the interactive process, the ADS Manager shall approve, deny, or modify the accommodation request. The ADS Manager will notify the requesting employee and the department chair or supervisor in writing of the accommodation determination. A copy of the notification will be retained in the employee’s confidential file in Human Resources.
  • If there are costs associated with an approved accommodation, such costs will be borne by the department or unit where the employee (faculty, student worker, or staff) works unless an alternative funding source is identified. The ADS Manager can assist with questions related to this process.
  • The University will use good faith efforts to implement reasonable accommodations within thirty (30) days of approval and accommodation letter notification.
  • Approved accommodations are periodically reviewed to assess effectiveness in balance with operational necessities. If the need for an accommodation changes significantly, including a significant improvement or worsening of the health condition, the employee is responsible for requesting that the interactive process resume as the next step in resuming the preceding steps as a modification, which may be repeated as necessary if the qualifying condition changes. The accommodation process is available for more than one qualifying condition if accommodation is being sought for each condition. Supplemental documentation for the additional or subsequent qualifying condition may be requested to inform the related accommodation request(s).
  • If an individual is dissatisfied with the determination of the reasonable accommodation request, the requesting employee shall have ten (10) business days to informally appeal/request reconsideration of the determination of accommodation(s) in writing to request a meeting with the Assistant Vice Provost for Accessibility and Disability Services.
  • The Assistant Vice Provost will review all information and documentation presented and schedule a reconsideration discussion with the employee. The AVP will issue a final decision within ten (10) business days after the appeal/reconsideration meeting to complete the interactive accommodation review process.
  • If after following the above procedures, the employee’s concerns remain and they wants to file a disability-based discrimination complaint, they are referred to UMBC’s Office of Equity and Inclusion, Administration Building 9th floor, email: oei@umbc.edu phone: 410-455-1717 website: https://oei.umbc.edu. External reports concerning discrimination may be filed with the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights, 6 St. Paul Street Ninth Floor, Baltimore, MD 21202, phone: 410-767-8600 website: mccr.maryland.gov or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), 10 S. Howard Street Third Floor, Baltimore, MD 21201, phone: 800-669-4000, website: www.eeoc.gov.
  • Employees are encouraged to be pro-active with their request for accommodation, as accommodations cannot be granted retroactively.
  • If you have questions about the procedures or employee accommodation, contact the ADS Accessibility Manager, Stephanie Lazarus by phone: 410-455-5745, email: slazar@umbc.edu or visit our offices in Math/Psych 212 on campus.

We look forward to working with you!