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Overview of the Interactive Process for Employee Accommodation

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  • Each disability accommodation request is different and unique. Consequently, every request is analyzed and processed on a case-by-case basis. However, the general steps of the interactive process typically follow those described below. Anyone involved in the interactive process should not hesitate to ask questions at any point during the process.

    1. Submit a Disability – Reasonable Accommodation Request Form. Job applicants and employees can complete online or complete, scan, and email to eeo@ufl.edu, fax to 352-392-5495, mail to 903 W. University Avenue, Gainesville, FL, 32611, or drop off at UFHR (appointments are typically necessary for in-person meetings). UFHR hours are 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday.
    2. Outreach from UFHR. Someone from Talent Acquisition will likely respond to simple requests from job applicants. For more complex job applicant requests or employee accommodation requests, contact will be made as quickly as possible (typically within one business week of the form’s submission).
    3. Preliminary/Clarifying Discussion. Some requests are pretty straightforward and clear, other require some initial discussion. After your documentation is reviewed, it is possible additional clarification may be needed to assure your request is fully understood. The initial review of documentation will also determine whether the reported impairment meets the criteria of disability under the ADA and whether the accommodation(s) requested is/are medically necessary. This step of additional discussion and clarification may be repeated, as needed, throughout the interactive process.
    4. Essential Job Functions Analysis/Department Informed. If the identified impairment meets the criteria of a disability, the impacted department HR Liaison or supervisor will be consulted to discuss and determine the essential functions associated with the position. Supervisors will be informed at this time that a reasonable accommodation is being sought. No personal health information is shared with the HR Liaison or supervisor.
    5. Review of Reasonable Accommodation Options. The ADA does not entitle employees to their preferred accommodation, only reasonable accommodations. However, any accommodations that are requested will be reviewed first. Should those requests not be workable, additional options will be sought and analyzed. During this stage, additional conversations with the employee making the request and their employing department may be necessary. If an agreement can be readily reached, there may be no need to take Step 6, below. Instead, it may be possible to skip to Step 7.
    6. In-Person Meeting. If an agreement cannot be reached through separate conversations, a meeting including the person requesting the accommodation, their supervisor (or additional members from the chain of supervision), Human Resources, and an Equal Opportunity representative may meet to discuss options in an attempt to work out an agreed upon accommodation or set of accommodations. It is possible that more than one in-person meeting may be necessary. The focus of this step is to identify workable accommodations. The underlying medical condition is not relevant or necessary to this conversation. Consequently, no personal health information is shared with the HR Liaison or supervisor.
    7. Documentation of Reasonable Accommodation(s). Once a reasonable accommodation is determined, the agreement will be documented in writing to assure that all parties recall the terms in the same way.
    8. Mediate with ADA Coordinator. If the employee, employing department, and Office of Equal Opportunity are unable to reach an agreement on reasonable accommodations, the ADA Coordinator for the University will be consulted. Such situations are rare, but allow for the ADA Coordinator to weigh in on those requests which are particularly complex.
    9. Revisit Accommodations Annually or As Needed. Accommodation agreements are not intended to be indefinite. If the employee’s disability changes, a new request may be submitted at any time. If the accommodation terms are being violated by the employee or the employee is not completing their work satisfactorily, the employing department may contact Equal Opportunity at any time. Typically, Equal Opportunity will check in with employees and their departments annually to determine whether accommodations are working out.