Employee and Faculty Accommodations

Disability Support Services for Employees and Faculty

Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act provides protections and guidelines for qualified persons with disabilities to receive reasonable accommodations in the work environment. 

Disability Support Services (DSS) works in conjunction with Human Resources, individual departments and the Office of Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action in providing disability-related services.

How to Request Accommodations

Staff or faculty members who are disabled and need accommodations should tell one of the following: their immediate supervisor, department chair/director or the Human Resources Department. As well, staff and faculty members should fill out the

Information for Supervisors

Disability Support Services (DSS) partners with supervisors to create accessible workplace environments and implement reasonable accommodations for employees. DSS is available to consult with supervisors about how to create work environments that are accessible and inclusive for a diverse range of employees, making it less necessary to implement accommodations on an individual basis.

What is a Reasonable Accommodation?

A reasonable accommodation is a change to an application process, work environment, or the way work is customarily performed that enables an employee with a disability to enjoy equal access.

Interactive Process for Exploring Accommodations:

If an employee suggests that he/she may need a change to a work environment or the way work is performed because of a disability, and this is not a request that you would normally approve as part of your usual department practice, the employee should be referred to Disability Support Services (DSS). The employee should fill out the Reasonable Accommodation Request Form and submit it to DSS. A signed Consent Release and supporting documentation will also need to be submitted to DSS.

If an employee requests reasonable accommodation(s) Disability Support Services (DSS) will contact you to discuss the request. DSS may ask for a copy of the employee’s job description and ask you questions about the employee’s duties and responsibilities, including the frequency with which particular tasks are performed. Disability Support Services (DSS) greatly appreciates your prompt response and partnership throughout this process.

Based on the information gathered from the employee, supervisor, and other individuals as appropriate, Disability Support Services (DSS) will make a determination about whether the accommodation requested is reasonable.

Temporary Accommodations

Employees with temporary work or mobility restrictions should contact DSS to evaluate options for assistance during their recovery period (e.g., temporary accessible parking registration). 

Documentation Guidelines

A disability, as defined by federal law, is a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities such as walking, hearing, seeing or learning. A staff or faculty member requesting accommodations must self-identify and provide recent documentation of his or her disability. This documentation is used to establish the staff or faculty member as an individual with a disability, and provides rationale for reasonable accommodations. When providing the necessary documentation, staff or faculty members should refer to the Disability Documentation Guidelines . These guidelines help staff and faculty members know what information is needed to establish eligibility as an employee with a disability that necessitates accommodations.

Appeals

A person who is not satisfied with the accommodations provided may seek advice from the Office of Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action.

Medical Alert

Employees with major medical or physical conditions (e.g., epilepsy, diabetes, cardiac conditions) that might cause a health crisis while at work should consider completing a Medical Alert form, available through DSS.

If an employee chooses to complete the Medical Alert Notice, he/she then distributes the form to various work personnel. Examples might include the Rice EMS unit, coworkers or an employee’s supervisor. Contact the director of DSS to discuss the form and possible distribution to selected personnel.

Completing a Medical Alert Notice does not guarantee specific medical responses or treatments in the event of a crisis. The purpose of the form is merely to familiarize university personnel with an employee’s medical background in the event of such a crisis.

Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan

Individuals at Rice with disabilities including mobility impairments, visual impairments, hearing impairments, speech impairments, and cognitive impairments should plan for evacuation in case of emergency. Please fill out the Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan for the residential college, office building, lab or other facilities where you expect to be on a regular basis. Forward the plan to Disability Support Services and file updates as needed. The plan will be submitted to RUPD and the Fire Safety Officer.

When preparing the plan keep in mind the four elements of evacuation information that people need.

  • Notification (What is the emergency?)
  • Way finding (Where is the way out?)
  • Use of the way (Can I get out myself, or do I need help?)
    • Self
    • Self with device
    • Self with assistance
     
  • Assistance (What kind of assistance might I need?)
    • Who
    • What
    • Where
    • When
    • How
     

Consultation

 The director of DSS is the resource at Rice University on matters relating to general disability information.

Information and Links

Contact information:

Location: Allen Center, Room 111

Hours of operation: Regular business hours year-round M-F (8:30 am - 5:00 pm) 

Phone: (main) 713-348-5841

Fax: 713-348-5888

E-mail: adarice@rice.edu