ADA - Americans with Disabilities Act
THE ADA OFFICE
The ADA Office is responsible for ensuring reasonable and consistent standards of compliance with the ADA legislative guidelines.
The ADA Office coordinates all USB services pertaining to employees and students to provide a work and academic environment free of barriers to ensure equal opportunity for all:
- assesses current USB policies and procedures and identifies those policies and practices that are inconsistent with the federal regulations;
- conducts ADA training and technical assistance workshops for USB staff and faculty and recommends priorities for achieving compliance with ADA;
- is available for consultation regarding reasonable accommodations for employees, students, and visitors with disabilities.
WHAT IS THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT?
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which became effective January 26, 1992, requires that individuals with disabilities be afforded equal opportunity in the areas of public services and programs, employment, transportation, and communications. Unlike other legislation, the ADA defines disabilities broadly and mandates concerted efforts to provide reasonable accommodations and access to services and programs.
WHAT IS A DISABILITY?
Over 54 million Americans will be protected under the first part of the ADA's three-part definition of disability:
- a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities
- visual, hearing, mental and motor impairments, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, individuals with a record of such an impairment
- drug addiction and alcoholism
- individuals “perceived as having such an impairment”
- infection with HIV, tuberculosis
WHERE IS THE ADA OFFICE?
The ADA Coordinator's Office is in Disability Support Services, 128 Educational Communications Center (ECC) (zip=2662). The phone number is (631) 632-6748 (Voice/TT) and the fax # (631) 632-6747.
WHAT DOES THE ADA COORDINATOR DO?
The ADA Coordinator monitors all SBU employee services to provide a work environment free of barriers ensuring equal opportunity for all. The ADA Coordinator:
- assesses current SBU policies and procedures and identifies those policies and practices that are inconsistent with the federal regulations.
- conducts ADA training and technical assistance workshops for SBU staff and faculty and recommends priorities for achieving compliance with ADA.
- is available for consultation regarding reasonable accommodations for employees and visitors with disabilities.
WHAT ARE REASONABLE ACCOMMODATIONS?
Reasonable accommodations are defined as modifications to a job or the work environment that enable a qualified applicant or employee with a disability to perform the essential job functions of the position. Reasonable accommodations can ensure that a qualified individual with a disability has equal rights and privileges in employment to those of non-disabled employees. Examples include:
- restructuring a job, i.e. giving marginal functions to other individuals
- implementing part-time or modified work schedules
- providing interpreters
- redesigning work areas and equipment or acquiring new equipment
- ensuring facility accessibility to those with physical disabilities, i.e. work areas, lunchrooms, restrooms, etc.
WHAT ARE THE PROCEDURES FOR REQUESTING A REASONABLE ACCOMMODATION?
The ADA precludes Employers from asking questions regarding a disability on application forms or during interviews. An accommodation request requires the Applicant or Employee to identify herself as a person with a disability. An Employer may request written documentation of an Applicant's or Employee's disability, but only after self-disclosure.
Confidentiality: Any information regarding disability revealed during a medical examination or conversation after the Employee is offered a position is considered CONFIDENTIAL. Disability related information must be kept separate from the personnel file. It may be shared with others on a need-to-know basis only.
If a qualified Applicant or Employee with a disability requires an accommodation, the Employer must provide it as long as the accommodation does not impose an undue hardship. Reasonable accommodations help persons with disabilities perform their jobs, but they also benefit Employers. On-the-job accommodations enhance worker productivity and satisfaction.
The ADA process begins when an Employee self-identifies to a Supervisor. A request for a reasonable accommodation can occur at any time -- before, during or after a job interview, once an Employee has begun working, or upon returning to work after becoming disabled. Sometimes, an accommodation may easily be given. A simple record of that transaction should be sent to the DSS Office or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Employees with more formal or complicated needs can obtain an Employee Reasonable Accommodation Request form from the Department Head or the DSS Office. Here is the process:
1. Statement of Disclosure: The Employee must identify herself to the Supervisor or the ADA Coordinator as a person with a disability. The department is not required to provide a reasonable accommodation until the Employee has identified s/he has a disability. This information will remain confidential and medical documentation may be needed.
2. The Reasonable Accommodation form/requested medical documentation: The Employee initiates the request for accommodation in writing to the department. The Employee completes his part of the Employee Reasonable Accommodation Request form and submits it to Disability Support Services (DSS) with the appropriate medical documentation. The form and documentation are then reviewed and submitted to the Supervisor to be completed. The individual and the Supervisor collaborate in identifying the barriers that limit the Employee's ability to perform the essential job functions. Using the person with a disability as a resource, the Supervisor identifies a variety of accommodations that would help reduce or remove career development barriers.
3. The Supervisor: The Supervisor assesses the cost-effectiveness of each accommodation to determine which one(s) can be implemented with the least economic hardship. The ADA Coordinator can also be consulted for this. If the Department Head or Supervisor can provide the requested reasonable accommodation directly without additional documentation or assistance, the completed Employer Reasonable Accommodation Response form is sent to the DSS Office. This ensures confidentiality and provides accurate data for reporting purposes. The application process is then complete. The department may proceed with the necessary arrangements to implement the most appropriate accommodation.
4. ADA Coordinator Consultation: If the Employee is reluctant to self-identify, the ADA Coordinator is available for consultation. If the Department Head or Supervisor requires more information necessary for making a decision, the request is referred to the DSS Office and Human Resources. The Employee is notified of the need for additional information. The DSS Office with Human Resources will consult with the Employee and the Supervisor about appropriate methods of implementing the requested reasonable accommodation.
5. If the individual requesting a reasonable accommodation believes the decision to deny the request was based on illegal discrimination, complaints may be filed with:
Office for Diversity and Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity
Informal inquiries or concerns can be made with the:
Campus Ombuds Office
West 0505 Melville Library
For more specific information regarding State and Federal assistance, you may wish to contact:
Equal Employment Opportunity
1801 L Street NW
New York State Division of Human Rights
Veterans Memorial Highway
State Office Building Room 3A-8
Hauppauge, New York 11788