Accommodation of Individuals with Disabilities
The Marine Biological Laboratory makes every effort to provide reasonable accommodations for qualified individuals with disabilities who have known identified physical or mental limitations.
If you are planning a visit to the MBL and you are a qualified individual with a disability, please contact the MBL EEO Coordinator (contact information below) if you need assistance in accessing MBL facilities.
Please contact the MBL EEO Coordinator if you need a reasonable accommodation to perform the essential functions of your job. MBL will work with you to determine a reasonable accommodation based on the nature of the disabling condition and the requirements of the job. Employees are reminded that they can self-identify as a qualified individual with a disability at any time during their employment.
If you have questions or need assistance or would like to request an accommodation, contact the MBL’s Equal Employment Opportunity Coordinator: firstname.lastname@example.org
Facts About the ADA (taken from the www.eeoc.gov website)
Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 prohibits private employers, state and local governments, employment agencies and labor unions from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities in job application procedures, hiring, firing, advancement, compensation, job training, and other terms, conditions, and privileges of employment. The ADA covers employers with 15 or more employees, including state and local governments. It also applies to employment agencies and to labor organizations. The ADA’s nondiscrimination standards also apply to federal sector employees under section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act, as amended, and its implementing rules.
An individual with a disability is a person who:
- has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life
- has a record of such an impairment; or
- is regarded as having such an impairment.
A qualified employee or applicant with a disability is an individual who, with or without reasonable accommodation, can perform the essential functions of the job in question. Reasonable accommodation may include, but is not limited to:
- making existing facilities used by employees readily accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities;
- job restructuring, modifying work schedules, reassignment to a vacant position;
- acquiring or modifying equipment or devices, adjusting or modifying training materials or policies, and providing qualified readers or interpreters.
An employer is required to make a reasonable accommodation to the known disability of a qualified applicant or employee if it would not impose an “undue hardship” on the operation of the employer’s business. Reasonable accommodations are adjustments or modifications provided by an employer to enable people with disabilities to enjoy equal employment opportunities. Accommodations vary depending upon the needs of the individual applicant or employee. Not all people with disabilities (or even all people with the same disability) will require the same accommodation. For example:
- A deaf applicant may need a sign language interpreter during the job interview.
- An employee with diabetes may need regularly scheduled breaks during the workday to eat properly and monitor blood sugar and insulin levels.
- A blind employee may need someone to read information posted on a bulletin board.
- An employee with cancer may need leave to have radiation or chemotherapy treatments.
Title I of the ADA also covers:
- Medical examinations and inquiries. Employers may not ask job applicants about the existence, nature, or severity of a disability. Applicants may be asked about their ability to perform specific job functions. A job offer may be conditioned on the results of a medical examination, but only if the examination is required for all entering employees in similar jobs. Medical examinations of employees must be job related and consistent with the employer’s business needs.
- Medical records are confidential. The basic rule is that, with limited exceptions, employers must keep confidential any medical information they learn about an applicant or employee. Information can be confidential even if it contains no medical diagnosis or treatment course and even if it is not generated by a health care professional. For example, an employee’s request for a reasonable accommodation would be considered medical information subject to the ADA’s confidentiality requirements.
- Drug and alcohol abuse. Employees and applicants currently engaging in the illegal use of drugs are not covered by the ADA when an employer acts on the basis of such use. Tests for illegal drugs are not subject to the ADA’s restrictions on medical examinations. Employers may hold illegal drug users and alcoholics to the same performance standards as other employees.
It is also unlawful to retaliate against an individual for opposing employment practices that discriminate based on disability or for filing a discrimination charge, testifying, or participating in any way in an investigation, proceeding, or litigation under the ADA.
Requests for reasonable accommodation do not need to be in writing. Individuals may request accommodations in conversation or may use any other mode of communication. An employer may choose to write a memorandum or letter confirming the individual’s request. Alternatively, an employer may ask the individual to fill out a form or submit the request in written form, but the employer cannot ignore the initial request. An employer also may request reasonable documentation that the individual has an ADA disability and needs a reasonable accommodation. In requesting documentation, an employer may specify what types of information the employer is seeking regarding the disability, its functional limitations, and the need for a reasonable accommodation.
An employer may require that the documentation about the disability and the functional limitations come from an appropriate health care or rehabilitation professional. The appropriate professional in any particular situation will depend on the disability and the type of functional limitation it imposes. Appropriate professionals include, but are not limited to, doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists, nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, vocational rehabilitation specialists, and licenses mental health professionals. If an individual’s disability or need for reasonable accommodation is not obvious, and he/she refuses to provide the reasonable documentation requested by the employer, then he/she is not entitled to a reasonable accommodation.