/ Equal Opportunity and Compliance

Reasonable Accommodation on the Basis of Disability Policy

Table of contents

  1. Overview
  2. ADA/Section 504 Coordinator
  3. Policy Contacts
  4. Policy Statement
  5. Entities Affected by This Policy
  6. Related Documents
  7. Definitions
  8. Procedures
    1. Reasonable Accommodation Procedure for students
    2. Reasonable Accommodation Procedure for employees
    3. Reasonable Accommodation Procedure for guests/participants in college-sponsored programs and events
    4. Accommodation Grievance Procedure
    5. Discrimination and Harassment Reporting
  9. Forms
  10. Effective Date
  11. Revision/Policy History

Overview

Hope College is committed to providing equal access to employment and educational opportunities for persons with disabilities. Hope College recognizes that individuals with disabilities may need reasonable accommodations to ensure equally effective opportunities to participate in or benefit from college educational programs, services, and activities, and to have equal employment opportunities.

This policy is established to clearly define process and procedures around requesting reasonable accommodation(s) on the basis of disability. This policy applies to all Hope College students, employees, applicants and community guests/visitors.

ADA/Section 504 Coordinator

Sara Dorer serves as the Hope College ADA/504 Coordinator and oversees implementation of Hope College’s disability compliance in regards to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and other federal and state laws pertaining to persons with disabilities including investigation of any allegation of noncompliance.

Inquiries regarding this policy and procedure may be made internally to Sara Dorer, Human Resources or Disability and Accessibility Resources (contact information listed below.)

Inquiries may be made externally to:

Office for Civil Rights (OCR)
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-1100
Customer Service Hotline #: 800.421.3481
Facsimile: 202.453.6012
TDD#: 877.521.2172
Email: OCR@ed.gov
Web: http://www.ed.gov/ocr

The local Office of Civil Rights can be contacted at:

Office for Civil Rights (Cleveland Office), U.S. Department of Education
1350 Euclid Avenue, Suite 325
Cleveland, OH 44115-1812
216.522.4970

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

Contact: http://www.eeoc.gov/contact/

Policy Contacts

Persons with questions about this policy, concerns about accessibility, reasonable accommodations and/or concerns about discrimination or harassment should contact:

Sara Dorer
Equal Opportunity and Compliance Officer
ADA/504 Coordinator, Title IX Coordinator
Office of the President
DeWitt Center, Room 220
616.395.6816
dorer@hope.edu

Students (and prospective students) seeking accessibility information and/or accommodations should contact:

Disability and Accessibility Resources (DAR)
Van Zoeren Hall, Room 261
41 Graves Place
Holland, MI 49423
616.395.7925
dar@hope.edu

Employees and applicants for employment seeking accessibility information and/or accommodations should contact:

Human Resources
Anderson-Werkman Center, Suite 210
100 East 8th Street
Holland, MI 49423
616.395.7811
hr@hope.edu

Persons participating in or attending college-sponsored programs and events seeking accessibility information and/or accommodations should contact:

Events and Conferences
Anderson-Werkman Center, Suite 130
100 East 8th Street
Holland, MI 49423
616.395.7222

Policy Statement

Hope College shall adhere to all applicable federal and state laws, regulations, and guidelines with respect to providing reasonable accommodations as necessary to afford equal employment opportunity and equal access to employment, programs and services for qualified persons with disabilities. Retaliation, intimidation, coercion, threats, or interference with people who seek to exercise their rights, or who encourage or aid others to do so is prohibited.

Entities Affected by this Policy

  • Students
  • Employees
  • Applicants
  • Community guests/visitors

Related Documents

Definitions

  • Disability: The ADA defines a person with a disability as having a physical or mental impairment or has a record of such impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activity. Major life activities include, but are not limited to, caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and working. The ADA definition also includes individuals who are regarded as having such an impairment but it is important to note that individuals regarded as having an impairment are not entitled to reasonable accommodations under the ADA. [1]

  • Major life activities: Major life activities are those functions that are important to most people’s daily lives. Examples of major life activities are breathing, walking, talking, hearing, seeing, sleeping, caring for one’s self, performing manual tasks, and working. Major life activities also include major bodily functions such as immune system functions, normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, and reproductive functions. [2]

  • Essential components: Essential components are course specific learning outcomes focused on the educational goals for all students in the course.

  • Essential functions: Essential functions are the basic job duties that an employee must be able to perform, with or without reasonable accommodation. Factors considered in determining if a function is essential include:
    • whether the reason the position exists is to perform that function,
    • the number of other employees available to perform the function or among whom
    • the performance of the function can be distributed, and
    • the degree of expertise or skill required to perform the function.

  • Reasonable Accommodations: A reasonable accommodation is a modification to practices, policies and/or procedures that allows an individual with a disability to have equal access. In employment, this may include a change to the application or hiring process, to the job, to the way the job is done, or the work environment that allows a person with a disability who is qualified for the job to perform the essential functions of that job and have equal employment opportunities. [3] In post secondary education, reasonable accommodations may include providing architectural access to buildings; providing auxiliary aids and services necessary for effective communication; and by modifying practices, policies and procedures (i.e. testing accommodations). Accommodations are considered “reasonable” if they do not create a fundamental alteration to essential functions of a job or an academic program or service; create an undue hardship, or a direct threat. [4] There are times when the offered accommodations determined to be effective may not be the requested and/or preferred accommodations.

  • Direct threat: A decision not to allow a person to participate in or benefit from services can be made when “an individual poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others.” To determine “whether an individual poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others, a public entity must make an individualized assessment, based on reasonable judgment that relies on current medical knowledge or on the best available objective evidence, to ascertain: the nature, duration, and severity of the risk; the probability that the potential injury will actually occur; and whether reasonable modifications of policies, practices, or procedures or the provision of auxiliary aids or services will mitigate the risk.” [5]

  • Fundamental alteration: A modification that is so significant that it alters the essential nature of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages or accommodations offered. [6]

  • Undue burden/hardship: It is not necessary to provide a reasonable accommodation if doing so would cause an undue hardship. Undue hardship means that an accommodation would be unduly costly, extensive, substantial or disruptive, or would fundamentally alter the nature or operation of the business. Among the factors to be considered in determining whether an accommodation is an undue hardship are the cost of the accommodation, the employer's size, financial resources and the nature and structure of its operation.

Procedures

A. Reasonable Accommodation procedure for students

Students can request an accommodation at any time by contacting Disability and Accessibility Resources (DAR) and submitting a Request for Accessibility Accommodations form. In general, students should request an accommodation when there is a barrier that is preventing the student, due to a disability, from accessing academic programs, campus housing or student life activities. As a practical matter, it is better to request an accommodation before academic performance suffers, prior to deadlines and events or conduct problems occur because approved accommodations cannot be applied retroactively. DAR collaborates with faculty and staff to provide reasonable accommodations, auxiliary aids, and support services that are individualized to students with documented disabilities and based on an interactive process that may include an in-person interview, an assessment of needs and a review of documentation.

Student rights:

  • Receive equal and fair treatment and be treated with respect and dignity.
  • Receive equal access to educational and co-curricular programs, activities, services, jobs, and facilities throughout the College.
  • Given reasonable and effective accommodations for a disability after the completion of the interactive process.
  • Confidentiality of all information regarding disability.

Student responsibilities:

  • Self-identify as a qualified person with a disability and initiate the interactive process with DAR staff.
  • Work collaboratively with DAR staff to determine reasonable accommodations.
  • Keep DAR updated with any changes to disability status and any issues regarding access.

How DAR is involved:

  • DAR works with departments and offices to ensure that Hope College courses and activities are accessible and available in the most integrated and appropriate settings.
  • Provide or arrange for reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities in Hope College courses and activities.

Faculty and staff responsibilities:

  • Request verification of students’ eligibility for any requested academic accommodations. DAR is the only office designated to review disability documentation and determine eligibility for appropriate accommodations.
  • Administer an accommodation only as approved by DAR. If students believe accommodations are not meeting disability-related needs, refer them back to DAR.

B. Reasonable Accommodation Procedure for Employees

Employees can request an accommodation at any time during the application process or while employed by submitting a request to a supervisor and/or Human Resources. In general, employees should request an accommodation when there is a workplace barrier that is preventing the employee, due to a disability, from competing for a job, performing a job, or gaining equal access to a benefit of employment. As a practical matter, it is better to request an accommodation before job performance suffers or conduct problems occur because employers do not have to rescind discipline that occurred before knowing about a disability. A request can be submitted in person or by email to the supervisor and/or Human Resources or by submitting the form for employees (linked below).

Employee rights include:

  • Access to all institution offerings, including courses, programs, services, activities, employment and facilities.
  • Information reasonably available in accessible formats.
  • An equal opportunity to employment.
  • Receive reasonable accommodations, which may include auxiliary aids and services.
  • Confidentiality of all information regarding disability.

Employee’s responsibilities:

  • Actively participate in assistive technology and/or ergonomic assessments.
  • Discuss accommodation needs with HR and supervisor.
  • Inform supervisor if accommodations are not effective.
  • Meet performance standards for the employment position.
  • If needed, help obtain medical documentation.

How HR is involved:

  • Explain the process and discuss the employee’s request.
  • Obtain a job description.
  • Engage in an interactive process that may include an in-person interview with employee (and likely the supervisor), an assessment of needs and a review of documentation to mitigate barriers.
  • If accommodations are warranted and when they are agreed to, work with the employing department to provide accommodations.
  • If needed, schedule ergonomic and/or assistive technology assessments.
  • If needed, HR may request confirmation of the employee’s condition from a medical professional.

Supervisor’s role:

  • Review the employee’s position description with Human Resources identifying the essential functions of the job and, if relevant, information about difficulties the employee may be having.
  • Discuss possible accommodations with HR and the employee.
  • Implement accommodations.
  • Monitor and evaluate accommodations’ effectiveness.
  • Contact HR if problems arise.

c. Reasonable Accommodation Procedure for guests/participants in college-sponsored programs and events

Hope College strives to be accessible to anyone attending an event or visiting on campus. If you are attending an event and need specific information about accessing an event, including reasonable accommodations for a disability, please contact the Events and Conferences Office (616.395.7222) or the ADA Coordinator (616-395-6816). That office will then contact the program’s sponsors.

D. Accommodation Grievance Procedure:

Persons may follow the grievance procedures below in any of the following circumstances. If they:

  • disagree with a decision to deny accommodations;
  • believe the final accommodation(s) provided are not reasonable;
  • believe the accommodations were not provided as agreed to;
  • feel they are being denied access to the necessary facilities;
  • believe for any other reason that they have been subjected to unlawful discrimination or violation of rights with respect to the granting or implementation of their request for accommodations under the ADA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.

During the grievance process, any approved accommodations put in place will continue uninterrupted. Our goal will be to accomplish each step of this grievance process as quickly as possible.

Persons should make an appointment to meet with the Director of Disability and Accessibility Resources (for students) or the Director of Human Resources (for employees), who will review the matter allowing all interested parties the opportunity to submit relevant information, statements and documentation. The Director will make a decision regarding the grievance typically within five to ten business days of the meeting with the complainant and attempt to notify that person immediately. The Director’s decision will be in writing and may be sent by email. If the grievance involves a decision made by a Director, the student/employee may forgo this step.

Appeals of grievance decisions may be directed to the ADA/504 Coordinator. After the Office of Equal Opportunity and Compliance receives a grievance, the concern will be reviewed through an inquiry process. This review will involve meeting/speaking with the reporting party and may also involve meeting with DAR/HR staff, supervisors, faculty members and/or other concerned staff members. The reporting party has a right to present information in person to the Office of Equal Opportunity and Compliance. A written decision will be issued by the Office of Equal Opportunity and Compliance. We will do our best to complete this process within 30 college business days of receipt of the grievance.

E. Discrimination and Harassment Reporting

If a person believes, for any reason, that they have been subjected to unlawful discrimination or harassment based on their disability, they may file a complaint at any time through the Equal Opportunity, Harassment and Nondiscrimination reporting form (or in person or through email to the ADA/504 Coordinator.) The ADA/Coordinator will meet with the reporting party to discuss resolution and/or investigation options as outlined in that policy.

Forms

For students

Effective Date

August 2020

Revision/Policy History

It is strongly recommended that this policy be reviewed every two years to ensure that it accurately reflects institutional policy, procedures, programs and campus safety plan.

Next Review/Revision Date

August 2022


NOTES:

  1. https://www.ada.gov/regs2016/adaaa_qa.html
  2. https://www.dol.gov/agencies/ofccp/faqs/americans-with-disabilities-act-amendments#:~:text=Major%20life%20activities%20include%2C%20but,thinking%2C%20communicating%2C%20and%20working.
  3. https://adata.org/factsheet/reasonable-accommodations-workplace
  4. https://adata.org/faq/what-are-public-or-private-college-universitys-responsibilities-students-disabilities
  5. “Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability in State and Local” - ADA.gov: https://www.ada.gov/regs2010/titleII_2010/titleII_2010_regulations.htm. Accessed 24 Apr. 2019.
  6. Source for Fundamental Alteration Definition