Disability

Request for Temporary Modifications/Accommodations

The Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO) acknowledges that the COVID-19 outbreak has brought changes and challenges to Colorado State University, its operations, and its employees. Many employees face unique and individualized challenges related to health and their work due to COVID-19 during this unprecedented time. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has published information on groups of people who are at higher risk or more vulnerable to COVID-19 due to serious underlying medical conditions. These conditions include, among others, chronic lung disease, moderate to severe asthma, and compromised immune systems. For more information on people with an increased risk, please see: People At Higher Risk.

Employees who are at higher risk for COVID-19 may make requests for temporary modifications during the outbreak to help mitigate their risk and better enable them to perform as many of their essential job functions as possible while COVID-19 remains a threat. Temporary modifications may include but are not limited to, personal protective equipment for essential in-person work, part-time work from home for essential job functions that do not require in-person work for employees deemed essential in-person personnel, modified or flexible schedule, modified assignments for in-person work, or leave.

The OEO understands that many health care providers are overloaded due to the COVID-19 outbreak and may not be able to see employees or complete paperwork to support requests in a timely manner. To help expedite employee requests for temporary modifications, the OEO is providing guidance on the steps supervisors and employees should take during this extraordinary time:

  1. Employees and supervisors should first consult the COVID-19 Human Resources FAQ to see if guidance has already been provided in connection with the specific requested modification.
  2. Supervisors should make every effort to work with employees who request a temporary modification due to high risk or increased vulnerability to COVID-19. Supervisors should not require or collect health care provider verification of any serious underlying health condition if the employee has previously gone through the OEO disability/reasonable accommodation process.
  3. Employees who request a temporary modification due to high risk or increased vulnerability to COVID-19 and have not previously submitted documentation through the OEO process should be asked to submit documentation of the underlying medical condition to OEO for assessment and granted interim accommodations pending receipt and assessment of documentation by OEO. Due to the extraordinary circumstances presented by COVID-19, OEO will accept documentation that includes a diagnosis such as a health insurance claim/benefits form, health care visit summary, or other medical record within the last two to three years documenting the condition in lieu of a signed health care provider evaluation form.
  4. All temporary modifications requested and granted must be reasonable and appropriate in connection with the employee’s job and potential COVID-19 risk, be documented, and have an end date. Temporary modification requests that are deemed, through an interactive process facilitated by OEO, to be an undue hardship on the department or university will not be granted.
  5. As the COVID-19 crisis evolves, temporary modifications and end dates may be revisited by the supervisor and employee.
  6. Modifications granted during the COVID-19 crisis are not permanent modifications or reasonable accommodations as defined by the Americans With Disabilities Act and Amendments Act. If a need exists for reasonable accommodations post COVID-19 crisis or if modifications are necessary for a period of more than six months, the interactive process through OEO must be followed resulting in a determination whether reasonable accommodations are required and, if required, what are appropriate reasonable accommodations.
  7. Employees experiencing challenges accessing or using assistive technology while teleworking can contact the ATRC at 970-491-6258 or atrc@colostate.edu.
  8. For general concerns accessing electronic information at CSU please refer to the ACNS website or report an electronic access issue at CSU here.
  9. Contact the OEO at oeo@colostate.edu or 970-491-5836 with questions or for assistance with a temporary modification request. Please also check the OEO website for additional information.

For additional information on campus operations, COVID-19, and ways to prevent spread of the virus, please see CSU information on COVID-19.

Americans with Disabilities Act

Colorado State University (CSU) complies with Sections 503 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA). CSU does not discriminate on the basis of disability in the areas of education, employment, public accommodations and services.

The Rehabilitation Act, the ADA and the ADAAA were designed to provide a clear and comprehensive national mandate for the elimination of discrimination against persons with disabilities, to provide enforceable standards addressing discrimination, and to ensure that the federal government plays a central role in enforcing these standards. The Director of the Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO) is responsible for the coordination of University compliance with the ADA.

Accommodations for Employees with Disabilities

Due to COVID-19, the Office of Equal Opportunity will temporarily operate remotely. Health Care Providers and employees are highly encouraged to scan/photograph and email this completed form to oeo.colostate.edu to ensure timely receipt and processing.  Be advised that unencrypted electronic submission is not considered fully confidential.

If you are an employee at Colorado State University and would like to request reasonable accommodation(s), please contact the OEO at (970) 491-5836 to arrange a meeting. During this meeting, the OEO will review what it means to meet the definition of disability under the ADA and the ADAAA, what documentation is needed by the OEO in order to make an individualized assessment of your situation, and possible accommodation ideas.

You may complete these forms prior to meeting or they can be provided to you when you come to the Office of Equal Opportunity:

Reasonable Accommodation Request Form (PDF) to be filled out by the employee

Health Care Provider Evaluation Form (PDF) to be filled out by the health care provider

In the event that OEO needs to speak directly with or obtain additional documentation, information or records from a health care provider, the employee may fill out the Authorization for Use, Disclosure or Release of Protected Health Information and Medical Records Form authorizing such correspondence.

Definition of Disability

An individual with a disability as defined by the ADA and ADAAA is a person who:

  1. has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; or,
  2. has a record of such impairment; or,
  3. is regarded as having such an impairment.

Three factors are considered to determine whether a person’s impairment substantially limits a major life activity:

  1. The nature and the frequency of the impairment;
  2. The expected duration of the impairment; and,
  3. The permanency or long-term impact of the impairment.

Major Life Activities may include:

Lifting, sleeping, concentrating, breathing, working, eating, walking, standing, reaching, thinking, reading, bending, hearing, seeing, speaking, learning, sitting, caring for self, interacting with others, performing manual tasks, and communicating.

Major life activities may also include major bodily functions including immune, hemic, digestive, bowel, bladder, genitourinary, lymphatic, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, reproductive, musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, special sense organs/skin, and normal cell growth.

Temporary, non-chronic impairments of short duration, with little or no long-term or permanent impact, are usually not disabilities. Such impairments may include, but are not limited to, broken limbs, sprained joints, concussions, appendicitis, and influenza.

An individual with a disability who is qualified is:

An individual who has a substantial impairment and meets the skill, experience, and education requirement of the position held or desired and who can perform the essential functions of the position with or without reasonable accommodations.

What about Pregnancy?

Pregnancy is not a disability. However, a pregnant employee may have a pregnancy-related medical condition (including post-pregnancy) that meets the definition of disability under the ADA and ADAAA even for a temporary period of time and be entitled to reasonable accommodations. Further, Colorado House Bill 16-1438 provides that a pregnant employee who has a pregnancy-related medical condition and seeks accommodations for that condition is entitled to reasonable accommodations if that request is not an undue hardship on the University of the employee’s department. The Colorado House Bill does not require that the medical condition meet the definition of a disability.

Reasonable Accommodations

Reasonable accommodations are any modification or accommodation to a job, practice, policy, or the work environment that enables an employee to perform the essential functions of a position without creating undue hardship for the employer.

Functions are considered essential if:

  • the employees in the position are required to perform those functions;
  • they are functions that would fundamentally change the position if removed;
  • the position exists to perform those functions;
  • a limited number of other employees are available to perform those functions; and,
  • the functions are highly specialized, and the person in the position is hired for his or her special expertise or ability to perform the functions.

Reasonable accommodations may include, but are not limited to:

  • acquiring or modifying equipment or devices;
  • providing qualified readers or interpreters;
  • job restructuring, modifying work schedules, reassigning to a vacant position; and
  • making existing facilities readily accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities.

Interactive Process

The process for determining if an employee has a disability and whether there are reasonable accommodations that can be implemented is called the interactive process. It essentially is a conversation between an employee and their supervisor, often facilitated by the OEO.

Reasonable Accommodation Requests

Employees seeking a reasonable accommodation may either be referred to the OEO by their supervisor or contact the OEO directly. In either instance, employees should call (970) 491-5836 to set up a time to meet with the OEO. During this meeting, the OEO will further discuss the assessment and accommodation process and any required documentation needed from the employee.

Once all required documentation is received, the OEO will determine if the physical/mental impairment qualifies as a disability. If so, both the employee and supervisor will be notified in writing that they may begin the process to determine reasonable accommodations.  The OEO can assist with the determination of reasonable accommodations should either party wish.

The OEO shall be informed of the agreed-upon reasonable accommodations, and record of such accommodations will be kept on file with the OEO.

Confidentiality

All employee medical information is kept confidential. Medical information is collected and kept in separate medical files with the following exceptions:

  1. supervisors may be informed of necessary restrictions on the work or duties of an employee and accommodations necessary for the employee; or,
  2. first aid and safety personnel may be informed, when appropriate, if the disability might require emergency treatment or if any specific procedures are needed in the case of fire or other evacuation; or,
  3. government officials who are investigating compliance with the ADA and the ADAAA and other federal and state laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of disability may be provided relevant information upon request.

When supervisors are informed of an employee’s limitations and accommodations, the ADA prohibits the disclosure of the employee’s medical information to other persons, including employees.

 

Accessibility of Electronic Information and Technologies

Colorado State University has implemented an accessibility of electronic information and technologies (EIT) policy. For more information or guidance on how to make EIT accessible, please contact the Assertive Technology Resource Center at (970) 491-6258 or atrc@colostate.edu.

Resources

Student Accommodations

Students who need accommodation in academic programs should contact the Student Disability Center, (970) 491-6385, to initiate the process.

Complaint Procedures

An individual with a disability who believes their disability is not being accommodated or who has experienced discrimination or harassment on the basis of disability may file a complaint with the Office of Equal Opportunity, the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, or the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.