The University of Tennessee at Martin, is committed to its role in providing equal opportunity and access to employment and education for persons with disabilities. The university provides reasonable accommodations to otherwise qualified faculty and staff who are disabled or become disabled and need assistance performing the essential functions of their positions.
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 is a federal anti-discrimination statute that provides civil rights protection to individuals with disabilities in the areas of employment, public accommodations, state and local government services, and telecommunications. The ADA is designed to remove barriers that prevent qualified individuals with disabilities from enjoying the same opportunities available to persons without disabilities. Similar protections are provided by Sections 503 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and by the Tennessee Human Rights Act.
At the University of Tennessee, the ADA means that no qualified individual with a disability shall, on the basis of disability, be excluded from participation in or be denied the benefits of the services, programs, or activities of the university. A qualified individual with a disability is defined as a person who satisfies the required skill, experience, education, and other job-related requirements of a position and who, with or without reasonable accommodations, can perform the essential functions of the position.
Requesting a Workplace Accommodation
The Office of Equity and Diversity (OED) serves in a coordinating role for the UTM faculty and staff with documented disabilities who seek reasonable accommodations in order to perform the essential functions of their jobs. OED works with employees, their health care providers, and their respective departments to determine whether and how individuals with disabilities can be accommodated in the workplace.
To initiate the process of requesting a workplace accommodation, contact OED.
As part of its process for considering workplace accommodation requests, OED requires appropriate medical documentation and, in some cases, consultation with the employee’s physicians and other health care providers. Any information gathered by OED will be handled confidentially and shared only as needed with appropriate personnel.
To expedite a request for accommodation, employees can complete the university’s reasonable accommodation request form and have their health care provider complete the medical information request form before meeting with the ADA coordinator. Incomplete medical information will cause a delay in assessing the request.
The Interactive Process
Requests for accommodation are reviewed on an individual basis through an interactive process involving OED, the employee, and the employee’s supervisor. OED will work with the employee and their department to consider the nature of the request, the supporting medical documentation, the essential functions of the position, and the needs of the department. Any changes in the employee’s medical condition or job functions may require additional review and updated medical documentation. The goal of the interactive process is to work toward reasonable accommodations that will allow the employee to fulfill their job responsibilities while meeting the needs of the department.
A temporary nonchronic impairment that has little or no long-term impact-for example, a broken leg, a short-term illness, or recovery from surgery-is not usually considered a disability.
For information on student academic or accessibility accommodations, contact the Office of Disability Services at 731-881-7605, or visit their website at https://www.utm.edu/offices-and-services/accessibility-resource-center/.
Anyone who believes that the university has failed to provide appropriate reasonable accommodations through the accommodation process can file a complaint through the university’s discrimination complaint procedure. A complaint investigator who is unrelated to the accommodation process has been designated to handle such complaints in accordance with university policy.