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Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

Wentworth Institute of Technology is fully committed to creating a community characterized by inclusion and diversity. As part of this commitment, Wentworth upholds the American with Disabilities Act as Amended of 2008 and the American with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, hereafter referred to collectively as the ADA.

This document outlines the resources available to faculty and staff as well as applicants for employment. 

Faculty and Staff seeking accommodations should contact Executive Director of Equity and Compliance, Catlin Wells at (617))989-4119 or via email at wellsc1@wit.edu

Students seeking accommodations in their classroom, residence or for any other university activity should contact Accessibility Services at (617) 989-4545 or via email at AccessibilityServices@wit.edu

The ADA requires Wentworth Institute of Technology to provide reasonable accommodations to faculty, staff, and students with disabilities unless doing so would create an undue hardship, compromise the health and safety of members of the university community, or fundamentally alter the nature of the university’s employment mission. Reasonable accommodation will be provided for qualified individuals with disabilities, including chronic illness, in a fair and equitable manner, and in accordance with applicable federal and state law. All individuals who are responsible for the implementation of the university’s mission are required to support the university’s commitment.

Faculty, Staff, and Applicants for Employment with Disabilities

Wentworth Institute of Technology is committed to achieving equal employment opportunities and full participation for persons with disabilities in accordance with the ADA.  It is the university’s policy that no qualified person shall be excluded from consideration for employment, be denied the benefits of any university program and/or activity, or otherwise experience discrimination.

A person with a disability will be ensured the same access to programs, opportunities, and activities at the university as all others.  The University is committed to identifying and removing any barriers.  In addition, Wentworth will remain attentive to ensure that no new barriers are created.

Achieving full participation and integration of people with disabilities require the cooperative efforts of all departments and individuals at the university.  Wentworth will continue to strive to achieve excellence in its services and assure that its programs and services are delivered in an equitable manner to all members of the Wentworth community.

The Office of Institutional Equity

As part of the university’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, The Office of Institutional Equity is an important resource to help provide faculty, staff, and applicants with equal access to all university programs and services and to ensure full compliance with the ADA. In addition, this office can help with a variety of accommodation requests for documented disabilities as defined by the ADA.

For additional information or to request an accommodation, please contact

Catlin Wells
Executive Director of Equity and Compliance/Title IX Coordinator
CEIS 204
wellsc1@wit.edu
(617) 989-4119

Purpose and Scope

The university recognizes that individuals with a disability or handicap may need a reasonable accommodation to have equally effective opportunities to participate in employment. The purpose of this policy is to meet requirements of federal and state anti-discrimination laws and to provide employees with reasonable accommodations as required by law. This policy applies to qualified disabled and/or handicapped applicants and employees.

Definitions

For the purposes of this policy, Federal and State anti-discrimination law definitions of disability and handicap, reasonable accommodations, undue hardship and other definitions and legal standards pertinent to the provision of reasonable accommodations will apply.

Consistent with the terminology utilized in the Federal and State anti-discrimination laws, the university uses the words “handicap” and “disability” in this policy. However, the university recognizes that not all persons with medical conditions who are covered under these laws consider themselves to be handicapped or disabled.

Policy

The university is committed to providing equal access to employment opportunities for qualified persons with disabilities or handicaps.

Upon request or upon notice of the need for an accommodation, the university will provide a reasonable accommodation to any otherwise qualified disabled or handicapped applicant or employee so long as such accommodation does not create an undue burden on the university, as defined by law.

The university provides reasonable accommodations:

  • when an applicant with a disability or handicap needs an accommodation in order to be considered for a job;
  • when an otherwise qualified employee with a disability or handicap needs an accommodation to enable them to perform the essential functions of the job or to gain access to the workplace, and
  • when an employee with a disability or handicap needs an accommodation to access the benefits and privileges of employment.

The university will process requests for reasonable accommodations and provide reasonable accommodations in a prompt, fair, and efficient manner.

Additional Information

An applicant for employment may request a reasonable accommodation orally or in writing from the university employee with whom the applicant has contact in connection with the application process or through The Office of Institutional Equity. 

An employee (faculty or staff) may request a reasonable accommodation orally or in writing from their supervisor or The Office of Institutional Equity.

Oral requests for accommodations will be confirmed in writing.

Under certain circumstances, as allowed or required by applicable law, an employee may be required to provide medical documentation to support a request for a reasonable accommodation. An employee also may be required to undergo an independent medical examination.

If an individual feels that they have been unfairly denied a reasonable accommodation, they may file a complaint with the Vice President of The Office of Institutional Equity.  In addition, a complaint may be filed with either or both of the agencies listed below. Filing a complaint with the Vice President of The Office of Institutional Equity does not prohibit an individual from filing a complaint with these agencies:

The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (the “EEOC”)
John F. Kennedy Federal Building
475 Government Center
Boston, MA 02203
(617) 565-3200 or (800) 669-4000

The Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination
One Ashburton Place, Suite 601
Boston, MA 02108
(617) 994-6000

The Office of Institutional Equity
(617) 989-4119
wellsc1@wit.edu

Process to Request a Reasonable Accommodation

Please review the following process for faculty, staff, and applicants for employment when requesting a reasonable accommodation.  Students should contact The Center for Wellness and Accessibility Services at 617 989-4390 or via their website.

Process

Wentworth Institute of Technology uses an interactive process to assess each request for reasonable accommodation.  Through this process, the employee or applicant with a documented disability work together to identify any barriers that affect the employee’s ability to perform the essential functions of the job or the applicant to participate in the application process. 

Applicants for Employment

Applicants may request a reasonable accommodation to participate in the application process at any time including but not limited to the interview.

Faculty and Staff

Faculty and staff who are requesting a reasonable accommodation should complete the Accommodation Request form and submit it to their supervisor or to the Office of Institutional Equity. This form may also be completed online. For confidentiality purposes, all medical documentation should be submitted directly to the Office of Institutional Equity.

Faculty and Staff Responsibilities

  1. Complete the Accommodation Request Form
  2. Notify supervisor of request
  3. Submit medical documentation directly to the Office of Institutional Equity to maintain confidentiality.
  4. Participate in the interactive process with The Office of Institutional Equity.

Supervisor’s Responsibilities

  1. Meet with the employee to outline process to request an accommodation including providing a link to the online information.
  2. Remind the employee to provide the necessary medical documentation directly to The Office of Institutional Equity.
  3. Work with The Office of Institutional Equity in the interactive process.
  4. Document each of these steps.

The individual requesting the accommodation and their supervisor will work together to review the information.  The Office of Institutional Equity will determine if the request is ADA eligible.

If the request is approved, The Office of Institutional Equity will notify in writing both the employee requesting the accommodation and the supervisor.  If the notification supports the specific request submitted by the employee, the supervisor will meet with the employee to implement the agreed upon accommodation.  The supervisor may consult with The Office of Institutional Equity to prepare for the conversation and request guidance in accessing other university resources.  The supervisor will document the meeting with the employee.

If the specific accommodation requested cannot be implemented, the supervisor and The Office of Institutional Equity will continue the interactive process with the employee to explore possible alternative accommodations.  If an alternative accommodation is reached, the supervisor will follow the steps above in the preceding paragraph including documentation of the meeting.

If it is determined that the request for accommodation is not reasonable and would create an undue hardship, The Office of Institutional Equity will inform the employee and provide an explanation as to why the accommodation cannot be provided.  The Office of Institutional Equity may also request more detailed information to further assess the request.

Appeals

If an employee or applicant wish to appeal the outcome of request for accommodation or file a complaint about the manner in which an accommodation request was handled or about perceived discrimination based on the disability and/or the request for accommodation, the complaint should be directed to the Vice President of Employee Relations and Engagement.  If the matter is not rectified to the employee’s or applicant’s satisfaction by the Vice President, the complaint may be filed with either of the following agencies:

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
John F. Kennedy Federal Building
475 Government Center
Boston, MA 02203
(617) 565-3200 or (800) 669-4000

The Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination
One Ashburton Place
Boston, MA 02108
(617) 994-6000

Filing a complaint with the University does not prohibit an individual from filing a complaint with these agencies.

Rights and Responsibilities of Faculty, Staff, and Applicants

Duty to Cooperate

Members of the university are encouraged to refer individuals who may need accommodation to The Office of Institutional Equity. 

Employees or applicants who request an accommodation have an obligation to supply all information requested by the university.

Freedom from Retaliation

Any employee or applicant who believes he has the right to request a reasonable accommodation without fear of retaliation.  It is a violation of university policy to retaliate against an individual for requesting an ADA accommodation.  

Confidentiality

Information provided through the reasonable accommodation process will be kept confidential and disclosed only on a “need to know” basis.  Information may also be provided to personnel called on to provide emergency medical treatment to the employee or applicant, or government officials investigating compliance with disability laws or regulations.

Any written information regarding an employee’s or an applicant’s medical condition, including the Accommodation Request Form, will be kept in a separate file.

Any employee who has participated in the evaluation or implementation of an accommodation request must not share information about an employee’s or applicant’s medical condition or disability with others or inform other employees that an accommodation is being provided because of a co-worker’s or applicant’s medical condition or disability, unless the employee or applicant reporting the medical condition or disability has consented to the disclosure.         

 

Definitions

  • ADA

    Americans with Disabilities Act, also known as ADAAA – Americans with Disabilities Act As Amended.

  • Disability

    A physical or mental impairment including any physiological disorder, or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, anatomical loss affecting one or more bodily systems such as neurological, musculoskeletal, special sense organs, respiratory (including speech organs), cardiovascular, reproductive, digestive, genito-urinary, immune, circulatory, hemic, lymphatic, skin and endocrine; OR any mental or psychological disorder such as an intellectual disability, organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, and specific learning disabilities.

  • Essential Functions

    Job duties typically, but not exclusively, found on a job description considered so fundamental that the individual cannot do the job without performing them.

  • Supervisor

    For staff, the supervisor is the individual’s direct manager.  For faculty, the supervisor is department chair or dean.

  • Interactive Process

    The Interactive Process is the procedure through which an employer and an employee or applicant with a documented disability work together to identify what barriers exist to the employee’s or applicant’s performance and/or essential functions of a particular job with the intention of finding a reasonable accommodation.  The Interactive Process often includes a review of the employee’s or applicant’s abilities and limitations and an analysis of which factor or job tasks may pose a difficulty and how the person may be accommodated.

  • Major Life Activity

    Functions such as caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, interacting with others, and working.

  • Qualified Persons with Disability

    An employee or applicant with a disability who satisfies the skill, experience, education, and other job-related requirements for the position and who can perform the essential functions of the job with or without reasonable accommodations.  This policy includes part-time, full-time, probationary, and temporary employees.  

  • Reasonable Accommodations

    A change to a job, the work environment, or the way things are usually done that allows an individual with a disability to apply for a job, perform job functions, or enjoy equal access to benefits available to other individuals in the workplace.

    The American with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act require Wentworth to provide appropriate and reasonable employment accommodations to employees and applicants with disabilities unless doing so would create an undue hardship, compromise the health and safety of members of the university community, or fundamentally alter the nature of the university’s employment mission.

  • Substantially Limits

    Unable to perform at least one major life activity that most people in the general population can perform or is substantially limited in the ability to perform a major life activity as compared to most people in the general population.

  • Undue Hardships

    An action requiring significant difficulty, expense, and disruption, or an action that would fundamentally alter policy and procedures or the nature of the job function.

FAQ's

Policy Category:  

Effective Date: ------

Responsible Executive(s): Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion 

Last Reviewed: 4/15/2022

Responsible Unit(s): Office of Institutional Equity 

Last Revised: 4/15/2022