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Disability and Reasonable Accommodation Policy -Section III. Definitions
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Adopted: August 26, 2008
Read next: Section IV: Notice of Disability
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The following definitions are provided solely as a guide to assist in the interpretation and application of this Policy. Further detail is available from the County’s Equal Employment Opportunity/American’s With Disabilities Act Program Coordinator (EEO Manager) and is also set forth in the American with Disabilities Act, the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, California Government Code section 12926, related federal and state laws and regulations, and cases interpreting those acts and regulations. The following definitions may be subject to change due to a change in applicable law.
Mental disability includes, but is not limited to, the following:
Having any mental or psychological disorder or condition, such as mental retardation, organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, or specific learning disabilities, that limits a major life activity
"Mental disability" does not include sexual behavior disorders, compulsive gambling, kleptomania, pyromania, or psychoactive substance use disorders resulting from the current unlawful use of controlled substances or other drugs.
Physical disability includes, but is not limited to, the following:
Having any physiological disease, disorder, condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss that affects one or more of the following body systems: neurological, immunological, musculoskeletal, special sense organs, respiratory, including speech organs, cardiovascular, reproductive, digestive, genitourinary, hemic and lymphatic, skin, and endocrine, which limits a major life activity.
A physiological disease, disorder, condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss limits a major life activity if it makes the achievement of the major life activity difficult.
"Physical disability" does not include sexual behavior disorders, compulsive gambling, kleptomania, pyromania, or psychoactive substance use disorders resulting from the current unlawful use of controlled substances or other drugs.
Medical condition means either of the following:
(1) Any health impairment related to or associated with a diagnosis of cancer or a record or history of cancer; or
(2) Genetic characteristics. For purposes of this section, "genetic characteristics" means either of the following
(A) Any scientifically or medically identifiable gene or chromosome, or combination or alteration thereof, that is known to be a cause of a disease or disorder in a person or his or her offspring, or that is determined to be associated with a statistically increased risk of development of a disease or disorder, and that is presently not associated with any symptoms of any disease or disorder.
(B) Inherited characteristics that may derive from the individual or family member, that are known to be a cause of a disease or disorder in a person or his or her offspring, or that are determined to be associated with a statistically increased risk of development of a disease or disorder, and that are presently not associated with any symptoms of any disease or disorder.
Limits A Major Life Activity
"Limits" shall be determined without regard to mitigating measures, such as medications, assistive devices, or reasonable accommodations, unless the mitigating measure itself limits a major life activity. A mental, psychological or physiological disorder or condition limits a major life activity if it makes the achievement of the major life activity difficult. "Major life activities" shall be broadly construed and shall include physical, mental, and social activities and working.
Qualified Individual with a Disability
A person who (1) satisfies the job-related requirements for the position; and (2) is able to perform the essential functions of the position with or without reasonable accommodation.
Essential functions are the job duties so fundamental to the position that the individual cannot do the job without performing them. Factors to consider in determining if a job function is essential include:
- Whether the reason the position exists is to perform that function
- The number of other employees available to perform the function or among whom the performance of the function can be distributed
- The degree of expertise or skill required to perform the function, and whether the function is specialized and the individual is hired based on his/her ability to perform it.
Evidence of whether a particular function is essential includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- The County’s judgment as to which functions are essential.
- Written job descriptions prepared before advertising or interviewing applicants for the job.
- The amount of time spent on the job performing the function.
- The consequences of not requiring the incumbent to perform the function.
- The terms of a collective bargaining agreement.
- The work experiences of past incumbents in the job.
- The current work experience of incumbents in similar jobs.
The County uses an Essential Functions Worksheet (EFW) to identify essential job functions. The EFW describes the typical job duties/tasks and the physical/environmental factors of the job. Generally, there is one EFW for each Job Class in a Department; however, if the requirements of a position vary significantly from those of other positions in the class, there may be more than one EFW for a particular job class.
The County is required to provide reasonable accommodation for the known disabilities of a qualified employee or applicant to (1) enable to individual to be considered for a job; (2) enable the individual to perform the essential functions of his or her job; or (3) enable the individual to enjoy equal benefits and privileges of employment. The County is not required to provide an accommodation that would be an undue hardship or that would present a direct threat to the employee/applicant or others.
A reasonable accommodation may include, but is not limited to, the following:
- Making existing facilities used by employees readily accessible to, and usable by, individuals with disabilities.
- Job restructuring, part-time or modified work schedules, reassignment to a vacant position (does not apply to applicants), acquisition or modification of equipment or devices, adjustments or modifications of examinations, training materials or policies, the provision of qualified readers or interpreters, and other similar accommodations for individuals with disabilities.
If a qualified individual with a disability or medical condition can perform the essential functions of a position, with or without accommodation, the County is required to provide a reasonable accommodation unless the accommodation would represent an undue hardship to the County’s operation or would present a direct threat to the employee or to others.
An accommodation poses an undue hardship when it requires significant difficulty or expense. Significant difficulty or expense is determined by evaluating several factors including, but not limited to: the nature and cost of the accommodation; the overall financial resources of the Department and impact on Department operations; the overall size and financial resources of the County; and the nature of the County’s operations.
An individual who, because of a disability, poses a direct threat to the health or safety of the individual or other persons, even with a reasonable accommodation, is not a qualified individual with a disability.
A direct threat is a significant risk of substantial and imminent harm, which cannot be eliminated or reduced to an acceptable level by reasonable accommodations.
A threat that is remote or theoretical is not sufficient to conclude that a person is not a qualified a person with a disability.
The assessment of whether or not a person poses a direct threat must be made on a case-by-case basis considering the following factors: duration of the risk; nature and severity of the potential harm; the likelihood that the potential harm will occur; and the imminence of the potential harm.