University of Pittsburgh: ADA Guidance for Employees (Faculty & Staff)
In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the University of Pittsburgh (the University) does not discriminate against applicants, employees, students, or guests with qualifying disabilities.
It is the policy of the University to comply with the ADA and all related federal, state and local laws, regarding employment of persons with disabilities in every respect, including application procedures, hiring, advancement, discharge, compensation, training, and other terms/conditions of employment.
This guidance describes the procedures that University employees (including faculty and staff) should use when they believe they require a reasonable accommodation for an ADA-qualifying disability. This guidance also describes the discrimination, harassment, and retaliation protections provided by the ADA and the process employees should use if they believe their ADA rights have been violated.
- Disability: A physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities (including major bodily functions) of the employee, a record of the employee having such an impairment, or the employee being regarded as having such an impairment.
- Major Life Activities: This term includes caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading concentrating, thinking, communicating and working.
- Major Bodily Functions: This term includes, functions of the immune system, normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, and reproductive functions.
- Substantially Limiting: The determination of whether an impairment substantially limits a major life activity requires an individualized assessment, and an impairment that is episodic or in remission may also meet the definition of disability if it would substantially limit a major life activity when active.
- Direct Threat: A significant risk to the health, safety or well-being of individuals with disabilities or others when the risk cannot be eliminated by reasonable accommodation.
- Qualified Individual: An individual who, with or without reasonable accommodation, can perform the essential functions of the employment position that such individual holds or desires.
- Reasonable Accommodation: A modification or adjustment to a job or the work environment that will enable a qualified applicant or employee with a disability to participate in the application process or to perform essential job functions. Includes, but is not limited to, any changes in the work environment.
- Undue Hardship: An action requiring significant difficulty or expense by the University.
- Essential Functions of the Job: This term refers to those job activities that are determined by the University to be essential or core to performing the job; these functions cannot be modified.
When an applicant or employee with an ADA-qualifying disability requests accommodation, the University will grant a reasonable accommodation, provided that doing so does not present an undue hardship or cause a direct threat to workplace safety. This section describes the procedures by which an applicant/employee should request a reasonable accommodation.
- If, now or at any point in your employment, you are experiencing a condition/impairment that you believe substantially limits one or more major life activities, you may have a qualifying disability within the meaning of the ADA.
- If you believe you need a reasonable accommodation because of this condition/impairment in order to perform the essential functions of your job, you should contact the office of Disability Resources and Services (412) 648-7890 to schedule an appointment to discuss your condition and the nature of your request for accommodation.
- If the University deems it appropriate in accordance with the ADA, you will be given an ADA Questionnaire to take to your healthcare provider. The purpose of the ADA Questionnaire is to assist the University in determining whether you: (a) have a qualifying disability within the meaning of the ADA; and (b) if so, whether you can perform the essential functions of your job, with or without reasonable accommodation(s).
- If the University determines that your condition/impairment is an ADA-qualifying disability, the University will determine through the interactive process, which includes advice of your healthcare provider, whether or not you need a reasonable accommodation to perform the essential functions of your job, the duration of your need for a reasonable accommodation, and what, specific, reasonable accommodation(s) the University will provide.
- Where the University determines that your condition does not constitute an ADA-qualifying disability or where your request for accommodation is not reasonable within the meaning of the ADA, the University reserves the right to deny your request for reasonable accommodation and/or to grant you a non-ADA accommodation as a courtesy.
- The University reserves the right to periodically require the employee to provide a recertification of the employee’s need for the accommodation.
Relationship to Other University Policies
Where an employee requires time off from work as a reasonable accommodation under the ADA, the employee will generally be required to concurrently exhaust all available paid time off and Family Medical Leave Act leave (if applicable).
Employees may also request concurrent time off and/or job modifications in accordance with the other applicable University Leave Policies found in the Faculty/Staff Handbook.
Discrimination and Retaliation Prohibited
In accordance with the ADA, the University strictly prohibits discrimination and harassment of applicants/employees with qualifying disabilities. If you believe you have been subjected to discrimination/harassment on this basis, you should report it to your immediate supervisor and/or the Institutional Equity Manager in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion (412)648-7860.
The University also strictly prohibits retaliation against any individual who requests a reasonable accommodation, complains about disability discrimination/harassment, and/or participates as a witness in an investigation of alleged disability discrimination/harassment. Likewise, if you believe you have been subjected to retaliation as described herein, you should report it to your immediate supervisor and/or Institutional Equity Manager in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion (412)648-7860.
In turn, the University will conduct a prompt and thorough investigation, during which your confidentiality will be protected to the greatest extent practicable. Employees determined to have engaged in disability discrimination, harassment or retaliation shall be subject to discipline, up to and including termination of employment