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Inclusion Policy for Employees with Disabilities

Authority: Inclusive Excellence
Date Enacted or Revised: Enacted May 14, 2018; Revised March 16, 2022

Purpose

McNeese State University does not discriminate against a qualified individual on the basis of disability and is committed to providing access to its programs, services, and activities. Efforts to ensure non-discrimination and academic adjustments for students, accommodations for applicants and visitors, and reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities are based on the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) of 2008. Inquiries may be directed to the director of inclusive excellence, Burton Business Center, Room 404, (337) 475-5428; (337) 475-5960 Fax; (337) 562-4227 TDD/TYY, hearing impaired; or cdo@mcneese.edu.  

Scope

A qualified employee or applicant with a disability is an individual who, with or without a reasonable accommodation or an accommodation, can perform the essential functions of the employment position. Essential functions are those duties that are so fundamental to the position that the individual cannot do the job without being able to perform the essential functions. An employer is required to make an accommodation or a reasonable accommodation to the known disability of a qualified applicant or employee if it would not impose an undue hardship on the operation of the employer’s business. Undue hardship is generally defined as an action requiring significant difficulty or expense when considered in light of factors such as an employer’s size, financial resources, and the nature and structure of its operation. An employer is not required to lower quality or production standards to make an accommodation, nor is an employer obligated to provide personal use items such as glasses or hearing aids.

The determination of whether a person has an ADAAA disability will not take into consideration whether the person is substantially limited in performing a major life activity when using a mitigating measure. This means that if a person has little or no difficulty performing any major life activity because they use a mitigating measure, then that person may meet the ADAAA’s definition of disability.

Mitigating measures may not be considered in determining whether an individual has an impairment that substantially limits a major life activity. An exception is made for ordinary eyeglasses or contact lenses that may be taken into account. Conditions that are episodic or in remission are considered in their active state. The University’s definition of disability will be interpreted according to the ADAAA.

An individual with a disability is a person who:

  • Has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. 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. Major life activities also include major bodily functions, such as functions of the immune system, normal cell growth, and digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, and reproductive functions;
  • Has a record of such an impairment; or
  • Is regarded as having such an impairment.

Title I of the ADAAA also covers:

  • Medical Examinations and Inquiries: Employers may not ask job applicants about the existence, nature, or severity of a disability. Applicants may be asked about their ability to perform specific job functions. A job offer may be conditioned on the results of a medical examination, but only if the examination is required for all entering employees in similar jobs. Medical examinations of employees must be job related and consistent with the employer’s business needs; and
  • Drug and Alcohol Abuse: Employees and applicants currently engaging in the illegal use of drugs are not covered by the ADAAA when an employer acts on the basis of such use. Tests for illegal drugs are not subject to the ADAAA’s restrictions on medical examinations. Employers may hold illegal drug users and alcoholics to the same performance standards as other employees. 

It is also unlawful to retaliate against an individual for opposing employment practices that discriminate based on disability or for filing a discrimination charge, testifying, or participating in any way in an investigation, proceeding, or litigation under the ADAAA.

Academic Adjustment, Accommodation, or Reasonable Accommodation and the Interactive Process

An academic adjustment, accommodation, or a reasonable accommodation is a change that enables a person with a disability to enjoy equal opportunities. Individuals with disabilities who are otherwise qualified may request and are entitled to an academic adjustment if a student, an accommodation if an applicant or a visitor, or a reasonable accommodation if an employee. Individuals do not need to use particular words to request an academic adjustment, accommodation, or reasonable accommodation. The process of determining academic adjustment, accommodation, or reasonable accommodation encourages communication between the University and the qualified individual with a disability.

Undue Hardship: The University is not required to provide a particular academic adjustment, accommodation, or reasonable accommodation if it will impose an undue hardship on the operation of the University. (Even in such instances, however, the University will consider alternative academic adjustments, accommodations, or reasonable accommodations, if such exist, that do not impose an undue hardship.) An undue hardship is a request that is unduly costly, extensive, substantial, disruptive, or that fundamentally alters the nature of the program, service, or activity in question. Ultimately, the University has the discretion to choose between equally effective academic adjustments, accommodations, or reasonable accommodations and may choose one that is less expensive or easier to provide.

Academic Adjustment, Accommodation, and Reasonable Accommodation Procedures

The Office of the ADA Coordinator will oversee the academic adjustment, accommodation, and reasonable accommodation procedures and ADA grievance procedures and will provide assistance and information to all who are involved in the process. The Compliance Program/EEO Specialist will also assist with the oversight of the academic adjustment, accommodation, and reasonable accommodation grievance procedures.

Filing a Grievance

Any person who believes that this policy has not been followed or they or their organization has been the object of discrimination or harassment by any student or student organization should present those allegations in writing following the procedures outlined in the Unclassified Grievance/Complaint Policy, the Grievance Policy for Classified Employees, or the Student Complaint Policy.

Consequences

A harassment or discrimination policy violation by any faculty or staff member of the University may result in and may not be limited to the following: discharge, termination of appointment or contract, demotion, or written reprimand. In addition, that individual as well as the University may be held responsible for any legal claims that may arise.

Training

The University and the state of Louisiana will provide training in the areas of inclusion, diversity, and equity, and the prevention of sexual misconduct.

Communication

This policy is distributed via the University Policies webpage.

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