The University of Wisconsin-Madison is committed to providing a workplace for our employees where they can be successful. This includes providing reasonable accommodations in order for qualified employees or applicants with disabilities to have equal employment opportunities. The Office for Equity and Diversity is responsible for UW-Madison’s compliance with the employment provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
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What is an accommodation?
Reasonable accommodation is a modification or adjustment to a job or work environment that permits a qualified applicant or employee with a disability to participate in the job application process, to perform the essential functions of a job, or to enjoy benefits and privileges of employment equal to those enjoyed by employees without disabilities. An employer is required to provide a reasonable accommodation to a qualified applicant or employee with a disability unless the employer can show that the accommodation would be an undue hardship—that means that providing the reasonable accommodation would result in significant difficulty or expense.
Accommodations vary depending upon the needs of the individual applicant or employee. Not all people with disabilities (or even people with the same disability) will need the same accommodation. Reasonable accommodations are determined on a case-by-case basis as part of an interactive process between the employee, the Divisional Disability Representative (DDR) and others as necessary. Employees can initiate a request for a disability-related workplace accommodation by contacting their DDR. The DDR will review such requests in accordance with the University policy and state and federal disability-related employment laws.
What is a Divisional Disability Representative (DDR)?
- DDRs are designated by their deans/directors to receive accommodation requests forms from employees and to assist managers, supervisors, and employees in their divisions in responding to disability matters in a way that complies with the ADA.
- Only DDRs are authorized to request, receive and maintain confidential medical information and records on behalf of employing units in their divisions.
ADA confidentiality requirements apply to medical information and records for disability, Workers Compensation, Income Continuation Insurance and all medical leave.
- DDRs are required to consult with the Disability Coordinator/Employment in the Office for Equity and Diversity (OED) before modifying or denying an accommodation request.
- DDRs have received extensive training on ADA requirements and campus disability policies and procedures.
SMPH Divisional Disability Representative (DDR) contact information
- Ann Kowaliczko
Confidential e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Confidential fax: (608) 234-4401
As an Applicant or Employee, What Are My ADA Responsibilities?
- Engage in a good faith effort with your DDR, manager or supervisor to identify reasonable accommodations.
- Submit an accommodation request form to your DDR.
- Follow procedures in appropriate disability accommodation policies.
- Provide medical verification and accommodation recommendations from a treating specialist to your DDR when needed.
- Meet essential performance, behavior and attendance standards after reasonable accommodations are provided.
- Review accommodations periodically to ensure that they are effective.
As an Applicant or Employee, What Are My ADA Rights?
Applicants and employees can expect managers and supervisors to…
- Base all employment decisions on the applicant or employee’s ability to perform the essential functions of a position, with or without accommodations.
- Engage in a good faith effort with the applicant or employee to identify reasonable accommodations.
- Consult with the DDR to make decisions and respond to accommodation requests in a timely manner.
When Should I Contact My DDR?
- If you are unsure whether your medical condition (physical or mental) is covered under the ADA.
- If you have questions about your rights and responsibilities under the ADA.
- If you need assistance with the accommodation process.
- If you have concerns about discrimination, harassment or retaliation based on disability or the need for accommodations.
Employees may contact the Disability Coordinator/Employment in the Office for Equity and Diversity (263-2407) (WTRS: 7-1-1) at any time.
What Does ADA Confidentiality Mean to Me as an Applicant or Employee?
The ADA imposes higher confidentiality requirements than previous laws and restricts the degree of access to confidential medical records, histories and information. University policy, procedures and practice were developed in accordance with these higher confidentiality standards.
- You may be required to provide confidential medical information to your DDR that allows your employer to:
- verify a disability
- determine restrictions and accommodation recommendations related to performance of essential functions of your job
- verify the need for, timing of and length of a medical leave.
Note that information provided to managers and supervisors in support of routine use of sick leave is NOT considered a confidential medical record and may be retained by your manager or supervisor.
- Only Divisional Disability Representatives (DDRs) are authorized to request, receive and maintain confidential medical records for all employing units in their divisions.
- You may need to submit confidential medical information and documentation to your DDR, not to your manager or supervisor.
- Confidential medical information may not be maintained in your personnel file.
- All confidential medical information/documents are covered by the ADA regardless of the source. Information from you or a third party (such as your treating specialist, Workers’ Compensation personnel, Income Continuation Insurance personnel, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation counselors, physical therapists, etc.) should be provided to your DDR only.
- Typically, our Income Continuation Insurance carrier sends medical documentation to the employing unit. Request that your manager or supervisor ensure this is not maintained in your personnel file and that it is forwarded to your DDR.
- You may request an accommodation informally by discussing the need for accommodation with your supervisor (See “Informal Procedures to Request Accommodations” in the Classified or Academic Staff Disability Accommodation Policy).
- You may request an accommodation formally by submitting your confidential Disability Request Form to the SMPH DDR. (add live link to Ann)
- If your manager or supervisor requests confidential medical information or documentation, contact the SMPH DDR.
- Your DDR will coordinate the decision-making process with your manager or supervisor which may include interactive discussions with you to identify reasonable accommodations.
- Your disability and accommodations are confidential; therefore, your manager or supervisor may not disclose this information to co-workers and staff.
- If you discuss your disability or accommodations with co-workers and staff, your manager or supervisor’s ability to maintain confidentiality is compromised. If you transfer, are promoted, or are reinstated to a position in a different division or agency, your DDR will not forward information about your disability or any accommodations that were provided. Therefore, if you need accommodations in the new position, you need to advise your new supervisor or manager.
For clarification or additional information about confidentiality, contact your DDR or the Disability Coordinator/Employment.
What are the UW-Madison policies and procedures related to reasonable accommodation?
The University of Wisconsin-Madison has separate disability accommodation policies and procedures for classified staff, academic staff and faculty.
Disability Accommodation Policies
Disability Accommodation Policy
How do I request a reasonable accommodation?
How can I obtain accessible parking on campus?
How can I arrange an ergonomic assessment?
How do I hire a sign language interpreter?
McBurney Disability Resource Center: How A UW Department or Unit Provides Interpreting Services
Looking for information about medical leaves?
If you have questions or concerns about one of your employees regarding disability matters, medical concerns, or leave, please contact the Divisional Disability Representative in SMPH:
Confidential e-mail: email@example.com
Confidential fax: (608) 234-4401
All medical information is confidential and can only be shared on a need-to-know basis. Access to confidential medical information is restricted. Only Divisional Disability Representatives (DDRs) are authorized to handle and retain medical information for employees.