For assistance when:
An employee disclosed a disability to me and/or requested a reasonable accommodation.
An employee disclosed a medical condition and/or provided a note from a physician.
- I suspect that an employee may benefit from disability-based accommodations.
There are varying scenarios in which a manager may have questions about her/his responsibilities with regard to an employee with a disability.
An employee discloses a disability and/or requests a reasonable accommodation
1) Inform the employee that there is a process by which reasonable accommodations are determined, and
2) Relay that NC State has an ADA Coordinator responsible for facilitating the interactive accommodations process.
At any point, the supervisor or manager is welcome to contact the ADA Coordinator with questions.
Not all accommodation requests need to be processed as disability-based accommodations. If an employee is requesting a modification to the work environment that would be provided regardless of disability-status, then the manager should make the modification without the interactive process. For example, one employee (with no disclosed disabilities) requests and is provided a reduced-glare computer monitor because she is having difficulty reading her screen. If another employee requests a reduced-glare monitor, and this employee says the monitor is needed due to his vision impairment, the monitor should be provided without going through the interactive process. In other words, the manager should not treat the second employee differently (requiring the interactive process) just because he disclosed a disability. On the other hand, if the monitor had not been provided to the first employee because it was too expensive, then it would be appropriate to engage in the interactive process to determine what, if any, reasonable accommodations are available for the second employee’s vision impairment.
An employee discloses a medical condition and/or provides a note from a physician (with or without listed workplace restrictions)
In this case, it is recommended that the manager acknowledge receipt of the information provide the employee with options. It is important that a manager not assume an employee is disabled just because a medical condition has been disclosed, but disability-related options should be provided just in case the employee is eligible under the ADA.
It is recommended that a manager respond with language similar to, “Thank you for this information. I will contact Human Resources to assist me with processing this information. Although I am not making any assumptions, it is possible that you have rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act. You are welcome to contact the ADA Coordinator if you believe it would benefit you to do so.”
The manager is always welcome to contact the ADA Coordinator with questions.
A manager suspects that an employee may benefit from disability-based accommodations
In this case, it is important for the manager not to assume the employee is disabled (i.e., regard the employee as disabled) and/or treat the employee as such, but instead to seek assistance from the ADA Coordinator and Human Resources.
The ADA Coordinator, Leave Administration, and Employee Relations work together with the manager to ensure that any performance or conduct concerns are addressed appropriately. When appropriate, after discussion with the manager, the ADA Coordinator can reach out to the employee to explain what eligibility under the ADA means and the accommodations process. An employee may not be forced to participate in the process. If an employee elects to not participate in the process, that employee should be managed consistently with how all other employees are managed.