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Disability and Reasonable Accommodation Policy -Section VII. The Interactive Process
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Adopted: August 26, 2008
Read next: Sections VIII. and IX. Confidentiality and Responsibilities
VII. The Interactive Process
When a request for accommodation is made, the Department head/designee in consultation with the Human Resources Department, and the individual requesting an accommodation must engage in a good faith interactive process to determine what, if any accommodation shall be provided. Employees have a right to a representative of their choice involved during the interactive process. Employees/applicants and the County must communicate with each other about the request, the process for determining whether an accommodation will be provided, and the potential accommodations. The County encourages verbal dialogue between the Department and the individual requesting accommodation, as well as written communications. During the interactive process the employee/applicant and the Department may discuss a variety of possible accommodations. Two-way communication is essential to this process. Applicants, employees, managers and supervisors are encouraged to contact the Human Resources Department at any time during this process to request assistance or advice.
While each request for accommodation is unique and individual cases vary, steps to be taken in the Interactive Process may include, but are not limited to the following:
- Obtain information from the individual and the individual’s medical provider regarding the limitations caused by the disability or medical condition and the need for accommodation. The County provides its EFW for the position to the employee/applicant for their medical provider to identify restrictions and whether they are temporary, or permanent. If the report of the employee’s/applicant’s medical provider is inadequate, incomplete or conflicts with other information obtained, the Department may ask the employee/applicant to obtain further information from the medical provider or may refer the employee to a physician of the County’s choice, at the County’s expense.
- In consultation with the employee/applicant, identify all possible accommodation(s) which would enable the applicant/employee to be considered for the position at issue, perform the essential functions of the position at issue, or otherwise enjoy equal benefits and privileges of employment.
- In consultation with the employee/applicant, assess the reasonableness of each accommodation in terms of effectiveness and equal opportunity for the employee/applicant.
- Implement the accommodation most appropriate for both employee/applicant and the County. It should be understood that the County does not have to provide the accommodation preferred by the employee/applicant or his/her medical provider. The County has the ultimate discretion to choose amongst the accommodations, so long as the chosen accommodation is reasonable and effective. If one accommodation costs more or is more burdensome than the other, the County may choose the less expensive or less burdensome accommodation, or one that is easier to provide.
Current Employees Only
If a qualified employee with a disability or medical condition cannot perform the essential functions of their current position, with or without accommodation, but may be qualified to perform the essential functions of a different position, the County will explore reassignment to a vacant position. Reassignment to another position is only made to vacant, funded positions. Efforts will be made to find a vacant position within the employee’s current Department. If a suitable position does not exist within the employee’s current Department, Human Resources will conduct a county-wide job search and consider alternatives provided by its Civil Service Rule provisions, including free name, transfer, and voluntary demotion provisions. Promotions, creation of new positions, or displacement of other employees are not a required part of the accommodation process.