The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 were established in order to provide a clear comprehensive national mandate for the elimination of discrimination against individuals with disabilities. Section 504 is the section of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 that specifically created civil rights to individuals with disabilities. Section 504 provides that no qualified individual with a disability should, only by reason of his or her disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 prohibits discrimination solely on the basis of disability in employment, public services, and accommodations. The person must be otherwise qualified for the program, service or job. The ADA requires the provision of reasonable effective accommodations for eligible faculty, staff, students and visitors across WVU’s programs, activities and services.
Obligations under ADA
Under the ADA/Rehabilitation Act, WVU has a responsibility to ensure program accessibility for all WVU campus community and program members and participants. This includes removing existing physical barriers, providing accessible transportation, providing ongoing education and training on disability-related matters, enforcing educational accommodations for students and ensuring compliance in employment practices. The University follows the guidelines of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, GINA and current case law.
ADA services and guiding principles for ADA/Rehabilitation Act compliance are provided by the ADA Coordinator. The ADA Coordinator is available to help you navigate accommodations and access at WVU. Compliance consultations with the ADA Coordinator on disability-related matters are available and encouraged.
Employee and WVU visitor inquiries, concerns or complaints of discrimination or harassment based on a disability should be referred to Ms. Jill Hess.
Accommodations for Visitors
If you are visiting WVU and would like information about campus accessibility and services, please contact Ms. Jill Hess, ADA Coordinator, by phone at 304-293-5600 or by email at Jill.Hess@mail.wvu.edu.
Accommodations for Employees
In general, an accommodation is any change in the work environment or in the way things are customarily done that enables an individual with a disability to enjoy equal opportunities.
If an employee has a disability and requires an accommodation, the employer must provide a reasonable accommodation, unless the accommodation poses an undue hardship or direct threat issue. An accommodation is not considered reasonable if it removes essential functions of the employee’s job.
There are three categories of reasonable accommodations:
- Modifications or adjustments to a job application process that enable a qualified applicant with a disability to be considered for the position such qualified applicant desires; or
- Modifications or adjustments to the work environment, or to the manner or circumstances under which the position held or desired is customarily performed, that enable a qualified individual with a disability to perform the essential functions of that position; or
- Modifications or adjustments that enable a covered entity's employee with a disability to enjoy equal benefits and privileges of employment as are enjoyed by its other similarly situated employees without disabilities."
To be eligible for a reasonable accommodation under the ADA, an employee must have an impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, or a record of such an impairment.
Employees may be referred to the ADA Coordinator to engage in the interactive process of accommodations in various manners: by self-referral, from their supervisor, or from Talent and Culture and/or Medical Management, any of whom may contact the ADA Coordinator directly.
Except for Medical Management, medical information will not be shared without permission from the employee. Restrictions, limitations and accommodations may be discussed with necessary supervisory staff and Talent and Culture representatives in order to implement accommodations and is only shared as a matter of business necessity. When necessary, for environmental, health and safety, and legal matters, employee accommodation information may be shared with persons who will treat such disclosed information confidentially.
Interactive Process of Accommodations
Once notification of an accommodation need and/or documentation of a disability has been received, the ADA Coordinator will:
- Receive and review the employee’s documentation of a disability.
- Obtain a current job description and/or PIQ from the supervisor, or Classification and Compensation.
- Conduct discussions with the employee and the supervisor, to determine whether the employee satisfies the requisite skill, experience, education and other job-related requirements, and performs the essential functions of the position, with or without reasonable accommodation.
- Determine if the employee can or cannot meet a specific job-related duty due to the disability. The supervisor must be able to demonstrate that the specific duty is “job-related and consistent with business necessity.”
- Engage in interactive communication with all parties to determine whether there are reasonable accommodations to enable the employee to perform the essential functions of the job, or to meet job-related requirements, unless the accommodation would impose an undue hardship.
- If an accommodation is appropriate and agreed upon, all parties (employee, supervisor, medical management, etc.) will be advised, and accommodation will take effect. Email, memos and/or letters documenting accommodation will be completed and distributed.
- If an accommodation is not available or reasonable, the employee may enter into the ADA Monitoring Program with the assistance of WVU’s Talent Strategies.
Some disabilities do not need accommodation. For example: an employee has a disability with a 10 lb. lifting restriction and has asked for an accommodation. The position does not require lifting. A meeting is held with the supervisor and the employee so that everyone understands that the job does not require lifting and the employee cannot be required to lift items over 10 lbs. The ADA Coordinator will not provide the employee with an accommodation as there is no need to do so. However, the ADA Coordinator will work with the parties to facilitate and resolve issues such as the one noted above.
ADA Monitoring Program
If employee cannot perform the essential functions of the job, with or without reasonable accommodations, the employee may be placed in ADA Monitoring, rather than lose employment. Please contact our office for more details.
Accommodations for Students
Educational accommodations for students at WVU are provided by the Office of Accessibility Services. For more information, please visit Accessibility Services.
To obtain WVU ADA accessible parking in WVU parking areas, employees must provide to WVU’s ADA Coordinator (by facsimile to 304-293-8279 or via .pdf to firstname.lastname@example.org) the following documentation accompanied by a note indicating that the employee is requesting ADA accessible parking:
- Copy of the employee’s disability parking placard from DMV with accompanying registration ID card
- Documentation from a medical professional indicating the disability, any restrictions and the duration of said restrictions
- Information including your worksite and requested parking area
The ADA Coordinator will review the documentation. If the employee has a qualified disability (temporary or permanent), he/she will be eligible for ADA accessible parking at WVU, and the ADA Coordinator will contact the Transportation and Parking Office to advise that the employee is eligible for ADA accessible parking.
Unfortunately, many of the WVU lots are already oversold and at capacity including ADA complaint spaces. To receive parking, one must already be a paid user of a WVU lot or purchase a parking permit. The cost of parking permits differs throughout campus and is dependent on the parking area where the disability permit is needed. There are no additional fees for accessible parking.
If parking in an area is not available, employees should consider obtaining parking at the intermodal facility (Area 81) and taking the PRT or the bus to their work location. Additionally, the Mountain Line Transit Authority has accessible bus service and other paid and unpaid services for WVU students and employees with WVU IDs.