Faculty and Staff Disability Policy

In keeping with Tulane’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, Tulane seeks to ensure access to its programs and activities to the broadest possible audience. Tulane complies with federal and state laws concerning the employment of people with disabilities, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and follows the regulations issued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). It is Tulane’s policy to reasonably accommodate qualified individuals with disabilities when accommodation is necessary to allow an individual to compete for a job, perform the essential functions of a job, and/or enjoy equal benefits and privileges of employment, and where the accommodation would not impose an undue hardship on the University.  
A.  Requests for Reasonable Accommodation in Employment
A reasonable accommodation is a change in the workplace or the way job duties are customarily performed that provides an equal employment opportunity to an individual with a disability. A reasonable accommodation must not pose an undue hardship to Tulane or fundamentally change the essential functions of a job.  It also cannot create a situation that poses a direct threat to the employee or to other individuals.

Under this policy, a request for reasonable accommodation has been made when:

  1. An employee or applicant requests an accommodation from a manager, supervisor, or through Tulane’s ADA/504 Coordinator. The requesting individual need not use the term accommodation or request a specific accommodation and may merely indicate to a supervisor or manager that a medical condition is interfering with their accessibility, job performance or job duties; or
  2. The need for accommodation is obvious to a supervisor or manager; an employee exhausts job-protected leave-of-absence entitlement under the Family and Medical Leave Act and remains unable to perform the essential functions of their job because of a continuing medical condition; or an employee reaches a point in recovery from a workplace injury where it is determined that the employee will not be able to perform the essential functions of the job without an accommodation because of a permanent or long-term impairment resulting from the injury.

Tulane’s Executive Director of Campus Accessibility & ADA/504 Coordinator, Kathryn Fernandez, can be reached at kfernandez@tulane.edu, or (504) 247-1751, for assistance and information about filing a request for an accommodation.
Interactive Process: After a request for accommodation has been made, Tulane’s ADA/504 Coordinator will begin an interactive process to determine whether the requesting party is a qualifying individual with a disability and what, if any, accommodation should be provided. This means that the individual requesting the accommodation and the ADA/504 Coordinator will communicate with each other about the request, the precise nature of the problem that is generating the request, how a disability is prompting a need for an accommodation, and alternative accommodations that may be effective in meeting an individual’s needs. As part of this interactive process, the ADA/504 Coordinator will ask the employee for documentation supporting the accommodation request (such as medical documentation demonstrating that the requestor is an individual with a disability), whenever the disability or need for accommodation is not obvious.
Accommodations Requests will be Honored to the Extent Possible: Sometimes an employee may ask for an accommodation that is not reasonable or necessary, that poses an “undue hardship” on Tulane or its employees, or that might threaten the safety of the individual who has made the request or of others. However, if a particular accommodation would impose an undue hardship, Tulane will consider whether there are alternative accommodations that would not impose such a hardship or safety threat.

In determining undue hardship, Tulane may consider factors including the nature and cost of the accommodation in relation to the size, the financial resources, the nature and structure of the University, as well as the impact of the accommodation on the specific facility or department that would provide the accommodation.
Implementing workplace accommodations: When Tulane determines an accommodation is necessary to allow an individual to perform the essential function of a job, Tulane will select and implement the accommodation that is the most appropriate for both the individual and Tulane. An individual’s preference for a specific accommodation will be given consideration, but Tulane is free to choose among equally effective accommodations and may choose one that is less expensive or easier to provide. Reasonable accommodations will not include altering the essential functions of a job, lowering performance standards, or anything that creates an undue hardship. If an implemented accommodation is not effective at allowing the individual to perform the essential functions of the job, other potentially effective accommodations will be implemented until one proves effective or alternative reasonable accommodations have been exhausted. The costs for reasonable accommodations of disabled applicants and employees with disabilities are the responsibility of the employing department/office. Once reasonable accommodations have been approved, the ADA/504 Coordinator will provide guidance to the employee and, where applicable, the employee’s supervisor, to facilitate and implement the accommodations in compliance with the law.
Employees who have requested or were granted an accommodation should report any changes in their ongoing need for accommodation to their supervisor and Tulane’s ADA/504 Coordinator.
Prospective and current employees with disabilities can learn more about the resources available to them by accessing the Disability & Accommodations page on the Office of Human Resources website, or contacting Tulane’s ADA/504 Coordinator, Kathryn Fernandez at kfernandez@tulane.edu, or (504) 247-1751.