Oregon State University strives to be a fully inclusive education community. To achieve this, every member of the University community must accept responsibility for being aware of and responsive to the particular needs of others, including those with disabilities. The University recognizes that traditional methods, programs, and services may not accommodate the needs of some individuals. What non-disabled individuals view as conveniences may present serious barriers for disabled individuals. We must provide reasonable accommodations to ensure equal opportunity and access to all programs, activities, and services of the University. The policy and guidelines set forth are not only intended to provide direction in avoiding discrimination, but to ensure that OSU operates in an inclusive way.

All qualified students, employees, job applicants, community members, and others engaging with OSU programs are entitled to a reasonable accommodation process. This page is intended to help all understand the basics of all accommodation processes as well and who to reach out to regarding accommodation requests. Much of this information is also covered in the OSU Critical Training Program EOA Module 3: Inclusion and Access.

Policies & Guidance

Qualified Individual

A qualified individual is a person who meets the requirements of an employment position, and who can perform the essential functions of the position with or without reasonable accommodation. We must consider reasonable accommodations for qualified individuals who are requesting workplace accommodation on the basis of disability, sincerely held religious belief, pregnancy, or domestic violence.

Reasonable Accommodations

A reasonable accommodation is a modification to a job, the work environment, or how things are usually done that allows a qualified individual an equal opportunity throughout their hiring and employment.The goal is to enable equal completion of essential functions by removing any barriers in the workplace that would impede a qualified individual from completing their duties.

Confidentiality

EOA will keep any medical information obtained confidential, and will only discuss impacts with others on a strict need-to-know basis. Supervisors who learn this information whether directly from the employee or from EOA, are also expected to keep information confidential and shared only with EOA.

Requesting Accommodations

How to request or respond to an accommodation will vary depending on your relationship with OSU.

Employees

Employees should contact EOA. EOA will work with the employee, supervisor, and potentially other appropriate administrative units to determine whether or not a reasonable accommodation can be made.

Job Applicants

To request an accommodation in any aspect of the recruitment and selection process, job applicants or prospective job applicants may contact EOA, the search committee chair, or hiring unit listed on the job posting.

Students

Disability Access Services (DAS) has the responsibility for providing services to students with disabilities, and administers the procedures by which students disclose a disability and request accommodations. Student employees working in their employment capacity should request employment accommodations from EOA.

Visitors, Program Participants, and Other Community Members

Disabled individuals wanting to engage in university programs, services, and activities, such as through event attendance or through seeking accessible information, should contact the office or individual listed for that program. Typically this contact information is provided at the bottom of event advertisements/flyers and the end of brochures and other print materials. This information can usually be found in the footer of most OSU websites as well.

Programs that are not sure what to do with an accommodation request, or that don't feel they can provide an accommodation, should contact EOA to consult on how to respond.

Additional Accommodation Categories

EOA also manages other accommodation processes for students and employees regarding religious beliefpregnancy, and/or domestic violence related reasons using a process very similar to that of disability accommodations.

In addition, Oregon State University is committed to ensuring that our programs and activities, normally provided in English, are accessible to Limited English Proficiency (LEP) persons. Upon request, the university will provide appropriate alternative non-English formats for persons with limited proficiency in English.

Supervisors

Sometimes employees will disclose the need for accommodations to supervisors first, or supervisors may have concerns they feel could be addressed through an accommodation. Employees can request accommodations at any time and do not have to use specific language. Supervisors can always ask "how can I help?" then reach out to EOA for consultation. If needed, EOA will assist departments in securing resources to fund accommodations.

While most accommodation requests should be forwarded to EOA, there are times when a supervisor can and/or should provide what the employee needs outside of the accommodation process. Supervisors who are unsure what to do, or who want to deny a request, must always contact EOA to discuss. Only EOA, through the interactive process, can gather documentation to assess whether to approve or deny a request. Below are some examples of when supervisors can provide what the employee needs as a standard business practice without needing to engage EOA:

  • An employee discloses a back injury and requests a sit-stand desk. If the unit provides office furniture on a routine basis, or has the budget to provide, they should consider purchasing the needed desk without requiring the employee to go through additional steps with EOA that non-disabled employees do not for the same outcome.
  • An employee requests a remote work agreement for the last trimester of a pregnancy. If the unit would provide remote work agreements to other similarly situated employees, there is no need to require the employee to go through an EOA process. This can be provided as a standard business practice.
  • An employee needs to attend physical therapy appointments once a week that will require a shift in work schedule. If the unit has a culture of providing flexible work schedules, consider providing this as a standard business practice.

Programs

Individual units/departments/programs are responsible for ensuring that their programs, services, and activities are accessible, and have a responsibility to work directly with the program participants requesting accommodations. EOA can provide consultation as needed in determining how to provide accommodations.

A program must consult with EOA before rejecting an accommodation request, as only EOA can assess whether to deny a request.

Learn more about accessible event planning and advertising, including what contact information to provide so program participants know where to request accommodations.

Complaint Procedures

EOA is responsible for overseeing compliance with regard to state and federal regulations that prohibit discrimination on the basis of a protected statusComplaints of discrimination or of wrongful accommodation denial may be filed with EOA.

Interactive Process

When an accommodation is not obvious and more information is needed, EOA uses an interactive process. The interactive process is simply back and forth communication with the employee, supervisor, medical providers when necessary, and EOA to come up with accommodations. The process usually involves:

  • EOA analysis of the position description and determination of essential functions with the employee and supervisor.
  • Consultation with the employee to determine precise job-related barriers or limitations, and how they could be removed with an accommodation to enable the employee to perform essential functions (sometimes this also includes gathering medical provider feedback).
  • Continual back and forth conversation as needed with all involved until an accommodation has been found that is most appropriate for both the employee and employer. Occasionally no reasonable accommodation is found or an alternative outcome is provided.
  • During an initial meeting, the EOA Accommodation Associate will talk through the process with an employee. Employees always have the choice to stop the process before disclosing to a supervisor. The EOA accommodation process is voluntary.