Standard on ADA Reasonable Accommodations for Employees, Applicants and Visitors


University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Standard on ADA Reasonable Accommodations for Employees, Applicants and Visitors



This Standard implements the University's Policy on Reasonable Accommodations for Employees, Applicants and Visitors.

Scope of Applicability

All University employees are covered individuals under this policy. Additionally, applicants for employment are covered in the application process and should contact the Equal Opportunity and Compliance Office if reasonable accommodations are required during that process. Visitors to campus or those participating in University sponsored events are also covered.


I. University Responsibilities and Employee/Applicant/Visitor Responsibilities

Employees, applicants and visitors are responsible for requesting an accommodation under this Policy as further described in Section I of the University Procedure on ADA Reasonable Accommodation in Employment.

The University is required to provide a reasonable accommodation for the known disability of an applicant, visitor or employee if requested unless the accommodation would either impose an "undue hardship" on the operation of the University's business or change the essential functions of the position.

While departments are required to address any specific request in good faith, there is no obligation on the part of the department or the University to determine or identify the need for an accommodation absent an employee's, applicant's or visitor's specific request.

The Equal Opportunity and Compliance Office has responsibility for ADA compliance and for engaging in an interactive process to determine whether an employee, applicant or visitor is a qualified individual with a disability for the purposes of providing a reasonable accommodation. Individuals may self-identify with the Equal Opportunity and Compliance Office even if no accommodation is requested.

II. Confidentiality

Information regarding requests for accommodations will be kept confidential and shared with others only if they have a legitimate business reason to know. Supervisors and managers will be informed of the functional limitations of an employee caused by the physical or mental impairment. The Employee and Management Relations Department in the Office of Human Resources or the Provost's Office will be informed if there is an employee relations issue involved. Medical documentation regarding an employee's diagnosis will be shared only with the Equal Opportunity and Compliance Office unless the employee specifically authorizes sharing this information with the supervisor or manager or other University personnel.

III. Appeals/Grievance Procedure

Employees who are dissatisfied with a determination regarding an accommodation request or believe that the decision(s) was reached improperly or unfairly may file a grievance through the established grievance procedure for Faculty, EHRA Non-Faculty or SHRA employees. Applicants for employment who allege a denial of a request for an accommodation of a disability during the hiring process may file a grievance directly with the Office of Administrative Hearings within 30 calendar days of the alleged denial of accommodation.


Disability - The term "Disability" means, with respect to an individual:

  1. a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more Major Life Activities of such individual;
  2. a record of such an impairment;
  3. being Regarded as Having such an Impairment; or
  4. an impairment that is episodic or in remission if it substantially limits a Major Life Activity when it is active.

Employee - Individuals employed by the University including faculty members, EHRA non-faculty employees, SHRA employees, graduate, professional and doctoral students, post-doctoral scholars, and student employees.

Essential Function(s) - The fundamental duties of the position or the primary reasons the position exists.

The University is not required to eliminate an Essential Function from the position, or to lower quality or performance standards to make an accommodation, as long as those standards are applied uniformly to employees with or without a Disability. The University is not required to create a new position to accommodate an employee. The University makes a determination as to whether a job function is "essential" on a case-by-case basis. Some of the factors used in determining whether a job function is essential are:

  1. whether the reason the position exists is to perform that function;
  2. the number of other employees available to perform the function or among whom the performance of the function can be distributed; and
  3. the degree of expertise or skill required to perform the function.

Has a Record of an Impairment - An individual has a record of an impairment if that individual has a history of, or has been classified as having, a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one or more Major Life Activities.

Major Life Activities -

  1. In General - major life activities include, but are not limited to, caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and working.
  2. Major Bodily Functions - a major life activity also includes the operation of a major bodily function, including but not limited to, functions of the immune system, normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, and reproductive functions.

Qualified Individual with a Disability - An employee or applicant for employment who, with or without a Reasonable Accommodation can perform the Essential Functions of the position.

Reasonable Accommodation - A modification or adjustment to a position, an employment practice, or the work environment that makes it possible for a Qualified Individual with a Disability to perform the Essential Functions of the position.

Reasonable Accommodations may include, but are not limited to:

  • Making existing facilities 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 examinations, training materials, or policies, and providing qualified readers or interpreters;
  • Making a website or digital information accessible; or
  • Allowing leave as an accommodation.

The University is not obligated to and will not provide personal use items needed in accomplishing daily activities (e.g. eyeglasses, hearing aids, prosthetic limbs, or a wheelchair).

Regarded as Having such an Impairment - An individual is Regarded as Having such an Impairment if the individual establishes that he or she has been subjected to an action prohibited by the ADA because of an actual or perceived physical or mental impairment, whether or not the impairment substantially limits or is perceived to substantially limit a Major Life Activity.

When determining if a condition is a Disability under this Policy, the University will not take into consideration any "mitigating measures" such as prescription drugs, medical equipment, prosthetics or other remedies, beyond ordinary eyeglasses or contact lenses.

Substantially Limiting - An impairment is a Disability under this Policy if it substantially limits the ability of an individual to perform a Major Life Activity as compared to most people in the general population. An impairment need not prevent, or significantly or severely restrict, the individual from performing a Major Life Activity in order to be considered substantially limiting.

Undue Hardship - An accommodation or action requiring significant difficulty or expense when considered in light of factors such as the University's size, financial resources, and the nature and structure of its operation. Undue Hardship also refers to an accommodation that is unduly extensive, substantial, or disruptive, or one that would fundamentally alter the nature of the position.

Related Requirements

External Regulations and Consequences

University Policies, Standards, and Procedures

Contact Information

Primary Contact

Equal Opportunity and Compliance Office, 919.966.3576,

Important Dates

  • Effective Date and title of Approver:
    • Effective Date: November 03, 2009
    • Title of Approver: Equal Opportunity and Compliance Office
  • Revision and Review Dates, Change notes, title of Reviewer or Approver:
    • Last Revised: June 09, 2017
    • Revised by: Equal Opportunity and Compliance Office
    • Substantive Revisions:
      1. Created new "Standards" document.
      2. Moved "University Responsibilities and Employee/Applicant Responsibilities," "Confidentiality," and "Appeals/Grievance Procedure" into "Standards" document from prior draft of "Procedures" document.
      3. Added new first paragraph of "University Responsibilities and Employee/Applicant Responsibilities."
      4. Updated "Related Requirements" section to ensure all information across the university policy, standard, and procedures documents was uniform.

Approved by:


Brandon Washington June 23, 2017
Director, Equal Opportunity and Compliance Office

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Article ID: 131716
Thu 4/8/21 9:15 PM
Thu 7/29/21 12:17 PM
Effective Date
If the date on which this document became/becomes enforceable differs from the Origination or Last Revision, this attribute reflects the date on which it is/was enforcable.
06/23/2017 12:00 AM
Issuing Officer
Name of the document Issuing Officer. This is the individual whose organizational authority covers the policy scope and who is primarily responsible for the policy.
Issuing Officer Title
Title of the person who is primarily responsible for issuing this policy.
Vice Chancellor for Human Resources and Equal Opportunity and Compliance
Last Review
Date on which the most recent document review was completed.
06/23/2017 12:00 AM
Last Revised
Date on which the most recent changes to this document were approved.
06/09/2017 12:00 AM
Next Review
Date on which the next document review is due.
06/23/2019 12:00 AM
Date on which the original version of this document was first made official.
11/03/2009 11:00 PM
Responsible Unit
School, Department, or other organizational unit issuing this document.
Equal Opportunity and Compliance