PPM Section 2 -
Americans with Disabilities Act
The Office of Institutional Equity administers the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) policies
and practices. Concerns, questions, and complaints regarding ADA should be directed to the Office of Institutional Equity.
For the full Western Michigan University ADA policy, please visit the Office of Institutional Equity's Disability Web page.
The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) extends civil rights protection in regard to job
application procedures, hiring, promotion, transfers, discharge, layoffs, training, compensation,
and fringe benefits by barring discrimination against any otherwise qualified individual because
of a disability, perceived disability, a record of a disability, or a relationship to someone
with a disability. Companion state legislation is defined in the Michigan Handicappers Civil
Rights Act, and the provisions in both pieces of legislation pertain to Western Michigan University.
This policy is intended to comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990. To the
extent that any provision in this policy is ambiguous and/or contradicts the Act, the language
of the Act will prevail.
Additional information and procedures:
- Definition of disability
The ADA defines a person with a disability as one who has a physical or mental impairment
that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of such individual, has
a record of such impairment, is regarded as having such an impairment, or is associated with
persons who fit with one of the foregoing three categories. Examples of disabilities covered
under the ADA include: substantial hearing, visual, or speech impairment; paralysis; limited
or no use of limbs; mental retardation; learning disability; epilepsy; AIDS or HIV virus.
Examples of items not covered under the ADA include current users of illegal drugs; problems
like gambling or kleptomania; or temporary impairment from injuries or illness.
- Protection under the ADA
A person with a disability that meets the above definition is protected under the ADA if he/she
is otherwise qualified for the position at issue and is able to perform the essential functions,
as opposed to marginal duties, associated with the position and is able to perform such functions
with or without a reasonable accommodation. With certain exceptions defined by law, such an
employee is entitled to reasonable accommodation.
- Essential functions of a position
Western Michigan University's determination as to what constitutes the "essential functions"
of a job will be given consideration and a written job description will be considered evidence
of the essential functions of a job.
- Reasonable accommodation and undue hardship
The ADA provides for reasonable accommodation or change in work environment, without imposing
undue hardship upon the University or threatening the safety of coworkers, but which will
allow an otherwise qualified individual to perform the essential functions of the position.
Undue hardship to the University includes any accommodation which requires significant difficulty
or expense. The ADA views reasonable accommodation broadly and provides the following examples
of such accommodations:
- Making existing facilities used by employees readily accessible to and usable by individuals
- Job restructuring; part-time or modified work schedules; reassignment to a vacant position;
acquisition or modification of equipment or devices; appropriate adjustment or modification
of examinations, training materials, or policies; the provision of qualified readers or
interpreters; and other similar accommodations for individuals with disabilities.
Procedure ADA requests for accommodation
- Employees and job applicants may make a formal request for accommodation by completing the
Western Michigan University Request for ADA Accommodation ("Request") which can
be obtained from the Office of Institutional Equity.
- Requests should be completed in full and signed by the employee/applicant.
- Requests should be submitted with appropriate medical documentation of disability.
- Completed Requests should be submitted as follows:
- Staff Requests must be submitted to the employee's supervisor.
- Faculty Requests must be presented to the ADA Compliance Officer per provisions of the
current AAUP bargaining unit contract.
- Job applicants may submit a Request to the Assistant Vice President for Human Resources,
or the ADA Compliance Officer/Associate Vice President for Institutional Equity, or their
- Employees and job applicants may make an informal (oral) request for accommodation to the
supervisor or hiring agent in person or by telephone. Supervisors/hiring agents may request
physician documentation of the disability.
Resolution of requests for accommodation
- All reasonable attempts shall be taken by the supervisor to accommodate the request as
soon as practicable under the circumstances.
- Supervisors needing assistance in determining or granting staff accommodations should contact
the Assistant Vice President for Human Resources/designee. The Assistant Vice President for
Human Resources/designee, with approval of the requester, may utilize the ADA Compliance Officer
and the Review Committee as resources for determining appropriate accommodations.
- Cases resolved at this point will be summarized in writing on the Request for ADA Accommodation
by the supervisor to whom the request was made. Copies will be distributed to the employee/applicant
requester, supervisor, and the ADA Compliance Officer, Office of Institutional Equity.
ADA appeals and complaints
Requesters may appeal the decision of the supervisor by submitting a written appeal, signed
by the requester, to the ADA Compliance Officer, Office of Institutional Equity.
Likewise, all complaints related to the University's Policy Statement for the Handicapped and/or
the ADA should be directed to the Office of Institutional Equity.