Part 1: Purpose
This procedure sets forth the process to be used for responding to requests for reasonable accommodations in employment based on an applicant’s or employee’s disability. The scope of this procedure is limited to reasonable accommodations and is not intended to fully describe other provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act or the Minnesota Human Rights Act.
Part 2: Reasonable Accommodations in Employment
It is the policy of Lake Superior College to encourage the employment and promotion of any qualified individual including those with disabilities. Lake Superior College will not discriminate in providing reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with a disability in regard to job application procedures, hiring, advancement, discharge, employee compensation, job training or other terms, conditions, and privileges of employment.
Part 3: Definitions
For purposes of this procedure, the following terms have the meaning given them.
Subpart A: Employer
The employer is Lake Superior College.
Subpart B: Interactive Process
A discussion between the employer and the individual requesting an effective reasonable accommodation. To be interactive, both sides must communicate and exchange information.
Communication is a priority and encouraged throughout the entire reasonable accommodation process. The interactive process is a collaborative process between the employee and/or applicant and Lake Superior College to explore and identify specific reasonable accommodation(s). (For information on the Interactive Process see the U.S. Department of Labor, Job Accommodation Network at http://askjan.org/topics/interactive.htm).
The interactive process is initiated when:
- The need for a reasonable accommodation is not obvious;
- The specific limitation, problem or barrier is unclear;
- An effective reasonable accommodation is not obvious;
- The parties are considering different forms of reasonable accommodation;
- The medical condition changes or fluctuates; or
- There are questions about the reasonableness of the requested accommodation.
The interactive process begins as soon as possible after a request for reasonable accommodation is made or the need for accommodation becomes known. The process should ensure a full exchange of relevant information and communication between the individual and the agency.
Subpart C: Essential Functions
Essential functions are the fundamental job duties of the position in question. The term does not include the marginal functions of the position.
- A job function may be considered essential for any of several reasons, including but not limited to the following:
- The function may be essential because the reason the position exists is to perform that function;
- The function may be essential because of the limited number of employees available among whom the performance of that job function can be distributed; and/or
- The function may be highly specialized so that the incumbent in the position is hired for one’s expertise or ability to perform the particular
- Evidence of whether a particular function is essential includes, but is not limited to:
- The employer’s judgment as to which functions are essential;
- Written job descriptions;
- The amount of time spent on the job performing the function;
- The consequences of not requiring the incumbent to perform the function;
- The terms of a collective bargaining agreement;
- The work experience of past incumbents in the job; and/or
- The current work experience of incumbents in similar jobs.
Subpart D: Individual with a Disability
An individual with a disability for the purposes of determining reasonable accommodations is any applicant, current employee, including student employees, or employees seeking promotion, who has a physical, sensory, or mental impairment which substantially or materially limits one or more of such individual’s major life activities. Generally, a disabling physical or mental condition that is expected to be temporary and from which the individual is expected to recover is not a disability under this procedure.
Subpart E: Qualified Individual with a Disability
A qualified individual with a disability is an individual with a disability who meets the minimum job qualification, requisite skill, education, experience, and other job-related requirements of the job and who, with or without reasonable accommodation, can perform the essential functions of the job.
Subpart F: Reasonable Accommodations
A reasonable accommodation is a modification or adjustment to a job or employment practice or the work environment that enables a qualified individual with a disability to perform the essential functions of the job as identified at the time of the reasonable accommodation request and to access equal employment opportunities. Reasonable accommodations may also include those things which make a facility and its operations readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities. Under the law, the employer has a responsibility to make reasonable accommodations for individuals with a disability only if the disability is known and it is not an undue hardship under Part 7, Subpart C.
Part 4: Identification of Lake Superior College ADA Coordinator for Applicants and Employees
Lake Superior College has designated its Associate Vice President of Human Resources as the ADA Coordinator to be responsible for administering requests for reasonable accommodations for applicants and employees.
For questions about reasonable accommodations or interactive processes, please contact the ADA Coordinator and refer to the applicable Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Part 5: Individuals Who May Request A Reasonable Accommodation
- Any qualified applicant with a disability who needs assistance with the job application procedure or the interview or selection process; or
- Any qualified employee with a disability who needs a reasonable accommodation to perform the essential functions of the position; or
- A third party, such as a family member, friend, health professional or other representative, on behalf of a qualified applicant or employee with a disability, when the applicant or employee is unable to make the request for reasonable accommodation. When possible, Lake Superior College must contact the applicant or employee to confirm that the accommodation is wanted. The applicant or employee has the discretion to accept or reject the proposed accommodation
Part 6: Right to Representation
In accordance with applicable collective bargaining agreement language, employees may have the right to request and receive union representation during the reasonable accommodations process.
An employee that chooses to be accompanied by a union representative during the Interactive Process, should refer to the applicable Collective Bargaining Agreement and contact their union representative to arrange such representation. If an employee wishes for their union representative to review copies of any accommodation agreements and other correspondence related to the accommodation process, the employee should please provide the ADA Coordinator with a signed release authorizing the College to disclose this information to the union. ADA Accommodation Process Documentation Release to Union Form
If the employee executes a written release authorizing the College to share documentation and correspondence related to the accommodation process for a represented employee, the union representative will be copied on correspondence concerning the accommodation process.
If they so choose, the employee may personally share the documents with their union representation regardless of whether the employer has a signed release.
Part 7: Providing Reasonable Accommodations
Subpart A: Job Relatedness
Reasonable accommodations will be provided only for job-related needs of individuals with a disability. The primary factor in evaluating an accommodation’s job relatedness is whether the accommodation specifically assists the individual to perform the essential function of the job as identified at the time of the reasonable accommodation request. If the requested accommodation is primarily for the benefit of the individual with a disability to assist that individual in daily personal activities, the employer is not required to provide the accommodation. The appropriate reasonable accommodation is best determined through a flexible, interactive process that involves both the employer and the qualified individual with a disability; it may include the appropriate union representative as provided by the applicable collective bargaining agreement.
Subpart B: Inability to Perform Essential Functions
Lake Superior College may deny employment or advancement in employment based on the inability of an individual with a disability to perform the essential functions of the job and may decline to make accommodations to the physical or mental needs of an employee or job applicant with a disability if:
- the accommodation would impose an undue hardship on the college as provided under Subpart C; or
- the individual with a disability, with or without reasonable accommodations, is not qualified to perform the essential functions of that particular job; or
- having the individual in the job would create a direct threat because of a significant risk to the health and safety of the individual or others and the risk cannot be eliminated by reasonable accommodation.
Subpart C: Undue Hardship
An interactive process must occur prior to making a determination of undue hardship. Determination of undue hardship is made on a case-by-case basis and only after consultation with the ADA Coordinator. In determining whether providing a reasonable accommodation would impose an undue hardship on the employer, the factors to be considered include:
- The nature and net cost of the accommodation needed;
- The overall financial resources of the employer involved in the provision of the reasonable accommodation, the number of persons employed, and the effect on expenses and resources;
- The overall financial resources of the employer, the overall size of the business of the employer with respect to the number of its employees, and the number, type and location of its facilities;
- The type of operation or operations of the employer, including the composition, structure and functions of the workforce, and the geographic separateness and administrative or fiscal relationship of the employer in question to the covered entity; and
- The impact of the accommodation upon the operation of the employer, including the impact on the ability of other employees to perform their duties and the impact on the employer’s ability to conduct business.
Subpart D: Documentation
Documentation of a disability is required as part of the reasonable accommodation process unless the nature and extent of the disability is already known to the employer, or as a practical matter, the requested accommodation is minimal and the employer makes modifications for its convenience, regardless of whether the employee or applicant meets the requirements for a reasonable accommodation under this procedure.
Only medical documentation specifically related to the employee’s request for accommodation and ability to perform the essential functions of the position will be requested. When medical documentation or information is appropriately requested, an employee must provide it in a timely manner, or Lake Superior College may deny the reasonable accommodation request.
Lake Superior College will not request medical records; medical records are not appropriate documentation and cannot be accepted. Supervisors, managers, and administrators must not request medical information or documentation from an applicant or employee seeking an accommodation. Such a request will be made by the ADA Coordinator, if appropriate.
Subpart E: Confidentiality Requirements
Medical information obtained in connection with the reasonable accommodation process must be kept confidential. All medical information obtained in connection with such requests must be collected and maintained on separate forms and in separate physical or electronic files from non-medical personnel files and records.
Electronic copies of medical information obtained in connection with the reasonable accommodation process must be stored so that access is limited to only the ADA Coordinator. Physical copies of such medical information must be stored in a locked cabinet or office when not in use or unattended.
The fact that an individual is receiving an accommodation because of a disability is confidential and may only be shared with those individuals who have a need to know for purposes of implementing the accommodation, such as the requestor’s supervisor and the ADA Coordinator.
Subpart F: Choice of Accommodations
The employer is not required to provide the specific accommodation requested by the individual and may choose an effective accommodation which is less expensive or easier to provide. Accommodations provided to the individual are the financial responsibility of the employer.
Part 8: Process for Applicants and Employees to Request a Reasonable Accommodation
Subpart A: Timing of the Request
An applicant or employee may request a reasonable accommodation at any time, even if the individual has not previously disclosed the existence of a disability or the need for an accommodation. A request is any communication verbal or written in which an individual asks or states that they need Lake Superior College to provide or change something because of a medical condition or disability. The reasonable accommodation process begins as soon as possible after the request for accommodation is made.
Subpart B: How to Request a Reasonable Accommodation
- To initiate the process, employees and applicants may make a reasonable accommodation request verbally or in writing to any or all of the following individuals:
- Immediate supervisor, search committee chair, or administrator in the employees’ chain of command,
- Lake Superior College’s ADA Coordinator,
- Anyone in the Human Resources Department,
- Any Lake Superior College representative with whom an applicant has had contact with during the application and/or the interview and selection process.
- Any Lake Superior College supervisor, administrator, or search committee chair or member who receives a request for a reasonable accommodation must notify the ADA Coordinator and/or the Human Resources Department immediately.
- Supervisor Responsibility for Employee Requests;
- When a supervisor or administrator observes or receives information indicating that an employee is experiencing difficulty performing the job due to a medical condition or disability, further inquiry may be required. Supervisors or administrator should consult with the ADA Coordinator immediately for advice on how to proceed.
- When an employee needs the same reasonable accommodation on a repeated basis (e.g., the assistance of a sign language interpreter), a written request for accommodation is required the first time only. However, the employee requesting an accommodation must give appropriate advance notice each subsequent time the accommodation is needed. If the accommodation is needed on a regular basis (e.g., a weekly staff meeting), Lake Superior College will make appropriate arrangements without requiring a request in advance of each occasion.
- Supervisors and administrators must engage in communications with the ADA Coordinator in a timely and appropriate manner to ensure reasonable accommodations can be made when and where appropriate.
- Search Committee Chair Responsibility for Applicant Requests
- When a request for accommodation is received from a job applicant, the Search Committee Chair and the ADA Coordinator and/or the Human Resources Department will discuss alternatives with the applicant and will make a decision regarding the request.
- If the request is approved, the Search Committee Chair will make sure that the accommodation is provided.
- If the request is not approved, the ADA Coordinator will inform the applicant in writing within 5 working days.
- Upon notification of a request for reasonable accommodation, the ADA Coordinator will contact the employee and/or the applicant and provide the individual with the appropriate forms.
- Requestor’s Responsibility for Their Own Requests
It is the responsibility of the individual who is requesting a reasonable accommodation to ensure that the ADA Coordinator and/or the Human Resources Department receives all of the following completed and signed forms:
- Employee/Applicant Request for Reasonable Accommodation
Employee/Applicant Request for Reasonable Accommodation is intended to allow the individual to document and provide the employer with specific information about the accommodation they are requesting, what job functions they are having difficulty performing or what portion of the application process they are having difficulty participating in, what limitations they are experiencing, and how the specific accommodation will be effective in allowing the individual to perform the functions of their job, access employment benefits, or participate in the application process.
The individual will complete and sign this form and return it to the ADA Coordinator.
- Authorization for Release of Medical Information ADA
Lake Superior College must obtain the requestor’s completed and signed authorization for release of medical information in order to receive medical information related to the request for a reasonable accommodation.
By signing the form, the requestor is authorizing their medical provider to release and disclose medical information necessary to determine whether a disability exists and whether an accommodation can be made, to the ADA Coordinator.
The requestor will complete this form, provide it to their healthcare provider and ensure that the ADA Coordinator receives a signed authorization.
The requestor may choose not to sign the Authorization. However, if the requestor chooses not to sign the Authorization, it is the requestor’s responsibility to ensure that the agency ADA Coordinator receives the requested medical information.
- ADA Medical Inquiry Healthcare Provider Form to determine ADA Eligibility
The ADA Coordinator will provide the requestor this form along with their job description or job posting (where applicable).
The requestor will provide this form and their job description or job posting (where applicable), to their medical provider to complete. The information requested on this form will assist Lake Superior College in making a determination regarding the request. Once the form is completed the medical provider is asked to return this to the ADA Coordinator.
It is the requestor’s responsibility to ensure that the ADA Coordinator receives the completed and signed document.
- When a request for a reasonable accommodation has been documented and verified, the ADA Coordinator will contact the individual to begin an interactive process with the employee or applicant.
- ADA Coordinator’s Responsibility for Employee and Applicant Requests
- The ADA Coordinator will meet with the employee’s supervisor or the hiring supervisor to discuss the purpose of the job and the essential functions. This process may include completing a step-by-step job analysis to determine the precise job-related limitations.
- The ADA Coordinator may disclose medical information obtained in connection with the reasonable accommodation process to supervisors, administrators, or Human Resources staff who have a need to know about the necessary work restrictions and about the accommodations necessary to perform the employee’s duties. Information about the employee’s medical condition or disability should only be disclosed if strictly necessary, such as for safety reasons.
- The ADA Coordinator will review the request for accommodation and the ADA Medical Inquiry Healthcare Provider form, and then identify potential accommodations and assess the effectiveness of each.
- The ADA Coordinator may seek technical assistance from the State ADA Coordinator or the Disability Services Coordinator for the college.
- The ADA Coordinator may seek additional information from the employee or applicant, or from the medical provider.
- The ADA Coordinator will provide the employee or applicant with a reasonable accommodation agreement for review and consideration.
- If an accommodation for an employee cannot overcome the existing barriers, or if the accommodation would cause undue hardship to the operation of the college, the employee and ADA Coordinator will work together to determine whether reassignment may be an appropriate accommodation.
- Reassignment to a vacant position for which an employee is qualified is a “last resort” form of a reasonable accommodation. This type of accommodation must be provided to an employee, who, because of a disability, can no longer perform the essential functions of the position, with or without reasonable accommodation, unless the employer can show that it will be an undue hardship.
- The ADA Coordinator will work with Human Resources Department and the requestor to identify appropriate vacant positions within the college for which the employee may be qualified and can perform the essential functions of the vacant position, with or without reasonable accommodation.
- Vacant positions which are equivalent to the employee’s current job in terms of pay, status, and other relevant factors will be considered first. If there are none, the college will consider vacant lower level positions for which the individual is qualified. Lake Superior College will consider positions that are currently vacant or will be coming open within at least the next 60 days.
Part 9: Approval of Requests for Reasonable Accommodation
As soon as the decision maker determines that a reasonable accommodation will be provided, the ADA Coordinator will process the request and provide the reasonable accommodation in as short of a timeframe as possible. The time necessary to process a request will depend on the nature of the accommodation requested and whether it is necessary to obtain supporting information. If an approved accommodation cannot be provided within a reasonable time, the decision maker will inform the requestor of the status of the request before the end of 30 days.
Where feasible, if there is a delay in providing the request, temporary measures will be taken to provide assistance. Specifically, where a reasonable accommodation has been offered to an individual, but the accommodation agreement has not been signed, Lake Superior College will treat the accommodation as if it were in effect until such agreement is signed between the ADA Coordinator, the supervisor, and the requesting individual.
Once approved, the reasonable accommodation should be documented for record keeping purposes and the records maintained by the ADA Coordinator.
Part 10: Funding for a Reasonable Accommodation
Funding for Reasonable Accommodations may come from the Human Resources Department budget, the reasonable accommodation budget, or the applicable department budget, as determined by Lake Superior College Administration at the time of the reasonable accommodation agreement.
Part 11: Denial of Requests for Reasonable Accommodation
Lake Superior College may deny a request for reasonable accommodation where:
- The individual is not a qualified individual with a disability;
- The reasonable accommodation results in undue hardship or the individual poses a direct threat to the individual or others. Undue hardships and direct threats are determined on a case-by-case basis with guidance from the ADA Coordinator.
- Where no reasonable accommodation, including reassignment to a vacant position, will enable the employee to perform all the essential functions of the job.
The explanation for denial will be provided to the requestor in writing. The explanation will be written in plain language and clearly state the specific reasons for denial. Where the decision maker has denied a specific requested accommodation, but has offered a different accommodation in its place, the decision letter should explain both the reasons for denying the accommodation requested and the reasons that the accommodation being offered will be effective.
Part 12: Appeal Process in the Event of Denial
Employees or applicants who are denied access or accommodations may appeal by filing a written statement to the Lake Superior College President.
Employees or applicants that wish to exercise their statutory right to file a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or the Minnesota Department of Human Rights, may do so in accordance with MMB’s HR/LR Policy #1433 ADA Reasonable Accommodation.
Part 13: Application
Nothing in this procedure is intended to expand, diminish, or alter the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act or the Minnesota Human Rights Act.
History: 1B.4 related procedures previously were included in policy 1B.4.
- Date 1B.4 Implemented May 3, 2001.
- Updated Policy 1B.4 to policy only, March 2022.
- Created new related procedure 1B.4.1 Reasonable Accommodation in Employment, March 2022.
- Created new related procedure 1B.4.2 Reasonable Accommodation for Students, March 2022
- Created related Grievance Procedure 1B.4.3 Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) Title II (non-employee) Reasonable Accommodation/Modification in Public Programs, Services, or Activities Requests, and Academics, or Employment, created March 2022.
- Minnesota State Board Policy 1B.4 Access and Accommodations for Individuals with Disabilities
- LSC Policy 1B.4 Access for Individuals with Disabilities
- Systems Procedure 1B.0.1, Reasonable Accommodations in Employment
- MMB HR/LR Policy #1433 ADA Reasonable Accommodation
- Employee/Applicant Request for Reasonable Accommodation Form
- ADA Medical Inquiry Healthcare Provider Form to determine ADA Eligibility
- Authorization for Release of Medical Information ADA
To view any of the following related statutes, go to the Revisor’s Office website. You can conduct a search from this site by typing in the statute number.
- Minnesota Statute 135A.16
- Minnesota Statute 363A.03
President’s Signature Date: September 22, 2022