Providing Reasonable Accommodations for Employees with Disabilities and Working with Pregnant Employees

Employees with disabilities, who would like to request accommodations in their work environment, have a great resource in the Office of Employee Relations (OER). Academic Specialist, Dr. Julie DeGraw (degrawju@msu.edu), leads and coordinates the accommodation process. The accommodation process empowers units and employees with disabilities to do their best work by establishing timely and reasonable accommodation plans that follow the Michigan State University Disability and Reasonable Accommodation Policy

Employees begin the process by registering with the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities (RCPD). Once RCPD determines that the employee fits the criteria of having a disability, they will be referred to OER/Dr. DeGraw to complete the interactive process. Dr. DeGraw will meet with both the employee and the supervisor/unit to review and gather input about the employee’s essential duties and the requested accommodations.   

The employee, or OER on behalf of the employee, may ask units for temporary accommodations until the accommodations process is complete. These temporary accommodations are only in place while the employee is going through the process and may not be approved beyond a temporary time frame. If the unit has any questions or concerns about providing such a temporary accommodation, it should contact OER/Dr. DeGraw.  

Employees who experience an impairment related to pregnancy or childbirth (for example, gestational diabetes or preeclampsia) that substantially impacts their work may also qualify as having a disability or a temporary disability. Reasonable accommodations may need to be provided. Please refer any employee seeking accommodations related to pregnancy or childbirth to OER/Dr. DeGraw. Additional helpful information regarding pregnancy discrimination and reasonable accommodations can be reviewed at the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Please let us know if the Office of Employee Relations (HR.ER@msu.edu) can help in any way to support you and your employees.  

National Disability Employment Awareness Month

This is a guest post written by HR Accommodations Specialist, Cherelyn Dunlap.

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), a month-long event held annually to raise awareness around disability employment issues and celebrate the many contributions of workers with disabilities. The theme for NDEAM 2020 is “Increasing Access and Opportunity”.

This year marks the 75th observance of NDEAM, and also commemorates the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). The ADA provides protections against discrimination of people with disabilities in numerous areas including employment, education, health care, recreation, transportation, and housing.

MSU is a leader in cultivating a diverse and inclusive campus environment, and our efforts to meet the needs of persons with disabilities was heightened this year due to the national COVID-19 pandemic. Extra measures were taken to provide guidance and a streamlined process for employees to obtain technology, accessibility and work arrangements that allowed them to manage the impacts of their disabilities. We continue to remove barriers and create possibilities for individuals with differing abilities.

We all play an important part in fostering a more inclusive workforce where every person is recognized for their abilities – every day of every month. Although many impacts are not physically visible, it doesn’t mean they do not exist. In the midst of these unprecedented times and beyond, let us all strive to be more flexible, more understanding, more inclusive, and more supportive of those with different abilities.  

For more information on National Disability Employment Awareness Month please visit the Office of Disability Employment Policy’s website at www.dol.gov/NDEAM.