Section 504 / ADA
PROHIBITION AGAINST DISABILITY DISCRIMINATION IN EMPLOYMENT
The Board of Education prohibits discrimination against any employee or applicant based on his/her disability. As such, this School District will not engage in employment practices or policies that discriminate on the basis of disability against qualified individuals with disabilities in every aspect of employment, including recruitment, hiring, promotion, demotion, layoff and return from layoff, compensation, job assignments, job classifications, paid or unpaid leave, fringe benefits, training, and employer-sponsored activities, including recreational and social programs. In addition, the Board will provide qualified applicants and employees with known disabilities with reasonable accommodations that do not impose undue hardship.
Recruitment materials, job announcements and all other materials/publications published by the Board of Education must contain the following statement that the Board does not discriminate against disabled persons in employment or the provision of services. This requirement may be met by including an insert in existing publications or revising and reprinting publications.
Equal Employment Opportunity Statement
The De Pere Public School District Board of Education does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age or disability in employment or the provision of services. The District will also include a notice of reasonable accommodation requirements on District employment application forms and post notices that employee reasonable accommodation Request Forms may be obtained from the District’s Section 504 Compliance Officer (who also serves as its ADA Coordinator).
Decision-Making Process for Determining/Identifying Reasonable Accommodations and Undue Hardship
In determining the appropriate accommodation in the employment situation, the District will take into account two (2) factors:
- The specific abilities and functional limitations of the particular applicant or employee with a disability; and
- The specific functional requirements of the particular job
Many times a reasonable accommodation will be obvious and made without difficulty and at little or no cost. The District Section 504 Compliance Officer/ADA Coordinator will first inquire of the individual with the disability as to any possible suggestions s/he may have for a simple change or adjustment that will serve as an effective accommodation. The District recognizes that employees with disabilities can be useful sources of information on what type of accommodation they need, where to obtain information on appropriate accommodations, and where to purchase accommodations.
If, however, the identification of a reasonable accommodation proves difficult, the District will utilize an informal, interactive process whereby it and the individual will work together to identify the appropriate accommodation. The interactive process will include any and/or all of the following steps, as may be appropriate:
- Examination of the particular job involved and determination of its purpose and essential functions. The District will conduct an individual assessment of the particular job at issue in order to analyze the actual job duties ("essential functions") and determine the true purpose or object of the job.
- The District will then consult with the individual with a disability to find out his/her specific physical or mental abilities and limitations as they relate to the essential job functions. This will help the parties to identify the barriers to job performance and assess how these barriers could be overcome with an accommodation.
- In consultation with the individual, the District will identify potential accommodations and assess how effective each would be in enabling the individual to perform essential job functions.
- If the parties are still not able to identify an appropriate accommodation, the District will seek technical assistance.
- If there are several effective accommodations that would provide an equal employment opportunity, the District will select the accommodation that best serves the needs of the individual and the District. While the District will give the individual with a disability’s preference first consideration, the District may choose among effective accommodations and select the accommodation that is less expensive or easier to provide. The District may consider the cost, efficiency and availability of the alternative accommodations in selecting an effective accommodation. The District does not have the obligation to provide the "best" accommodation possible, so long as it provides an accommodation that is sufficient to meet the job-related needs of the individual being accommodated.
The District will not provide an accommodation without first checking with the employee since the employee may not need or want an accommodation, or the unrequested accommodation may not meet the employee’s functional limitation. The District will respect an individual with a disability’s right to not accept an accommodation if s/he has not requested it and does not feel one is necessary. However, if this results in the individual failing to perform essential functions, s/he may be considered unqualified and may either be refused employment or discharged.
The District may decline to provide desired accommodations if it determines such accommodations will result in an undue hardship. An undue hardship entails a significant difficulty or expense in, or resulting from, the provision of the accommodation. Such hardship is not limited to financial difficulty but rather encompasses any accommodation that would be unduly costly, extensive, substantial or disruptive, or that would fundamentally alter the nature or operation of the program. If the cost of an accommodation would impose an undue hardship, the District will give the individual with the disability the option of paying that portion of the cost which would constitute an undue hardship or providing the accommodation. Further, the District will not consider employee morale or the attitudes of others when determining undue hardship.
Decisions not to provide a reasonable accommodation will be in writing and accompanied by an explanation of the decision not to act.
Reasonable accommodations may include:
- Making facilities used by employees readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities.
- Job restructuring, part-time or modified work schedule, acquisition or modification of equipment or devices, the provision of readers or interpreters, and other similar actions.
Factors to be considered when determining whether an accommodation would impose an undue hardship on the operation of the District’s program or activity include:
- The overall size of the District’s program or activity with respect to number of employees, number and type of facilities, and size of budget;
- the type of the District’s operation, including the composition and structure of the District’s workforce; and the nature and cost of the accommodation needed.
The District will not use any employment test or other selection criterion that screens out or tends to screen out individuals with disabilities or any class of persons with disabilities unless: (a) the test score or other selection criterion is shown to be job-related for the position in question; and (b) alternative job-related tests or criterion that do not screen out or tend to screen out as many persons with disabilities are not shown to be available.
The District will select and administer tests concerning employment so that when administered to an applicant or employee who has a disability that impairs sensory, manual or speaking skills, the test results accurately reflect the applicant’s or employee’s job skills, aptitude, or whatever other factor the test purports to measure, rather than reflecting the applicant’s or employee’s impaired sensory, manual, or speaking skills (except where those skills are the factors that the test purports to measure).
Except as authorized by law, the District will not conduct a pre-employment medical examination or make pre-employment inquiry of an applicant as to whether the applicant is an individual with a disability or as to the nature or severity of a disability. The District will, however, make pre-employment inquiry into an applicant’s ability to perform job-related functions – this includes requesting the applicant to describe or demonstrate how s/he would perform the functions.
The District may give a physical agility test at any point in the application or employment process, since such tests are not medical exams. When the District decides to give such a test it must give the test to all similarly situated applicants or employees regardless of disability.
Some examples of alternative test formats and reasonable accommodations are:
- Allowing people with certain learning or dexterity disabilities to take extra time on a test;
- Assuring the test site is accessible to a person with a mobility impairment;
- Allowing a person with a mental disability who cannot perform well with distractions to take a test in a separate room, if a group test setting is not relevant to the job; and
- Providing Braille, large print, a reader or a computer for people with vision impairments.
If the District conditions an offer of employment on the results of a medical examination conducted prior to the employee’s entrance on duty, the District will (1) subject all entering employees to such an examination regardless of disability, and (2) the results of the examination will be used only as authorized by law.
Information obtained as to the medical condition or history of the applicant will be collected and maintained on separate forms that shall be accorded confidentiality as medical records, except that (a) Supervisors and managers may be informed regarding restrictions on the work or duties of individuals with disabilities and regarding necessary accommodations; (b) First aid and safety personnel may be informed where appropriate, if the condition might require emergency treatment; and (c) Government officials investigating compliance with Section 504 shall be provided relevant information upon request.
All of the topics labeled off-limits with respect to job applications are likewise prohibited as subjects of inquiry during job interviews. The District, however, may ask questions that relate to an applicant’s ability to perform job-related functions so long as it does not phrase the questions in terms of disability. The interviewer may ask about an applicant’s ability to perform both essential and marginal job functions. In addition, the interviewer may describe or demonstrate job function(s) and inquire whether or not the applicant can perform that function(s) with or without reasonable accommodation. Along the same lines, the interviewer may ask the applicant to describe or demonstrate how, with or without reasonable accommodation, s/he will perform the job-related functions. Any questions concerning the need for reasonable accommodation should always be linked with performance on a specific job function. The interviewer should never ask an open-ended question such as "Will you need a reasonable accommodation?"
Interviews should thus concentrate on how applicants will complete tasks that are essential functions, rather than on eliciting information about the applicant’s physical or mental condition. Similarly, the District may inquire as to an applicant’s ability to perform a job effectively and safely.
According to the EEOC, the following are examples of questions that cannot be asked on a job application or during an interview:
- Have you ever had or been treated for any of the following conditions or diseases?
- Please list any conditions or diseases for which you have been treated in the past three (3) years.
- Have your ever been hospitalized? If so, for what condition?
- Have your ever been treated by a psychiatrist or psychologist? If so, for what condition?
- Have you ever been treated for any mental condition?
- Is there any health-related reason you may not be able to perform the job for which you are applying?
- Have you had a major illness in the last five (5) years?
- How many days were you absent from work because of illness last year?
- Do you have any physical defects which preclude you from performing certain kinds of work? If yes, describe such defects and specific work limitations.
- Do you have any disabilities or impairments which may affect your performance in the position for which you are applying?
- Are you taking prescribed drugs?
- Have you ever been treated for drug addiction or alcoholism?
- Have you ever filed for workers’ compensation insurance?
Administrators should not ask a reference questions about an applicant that it could not ask the applicant himself/herself (i.e. previous employers cannot be asked about a former employee’s disabilities, illness or workers’ compensation history/claims).
The following are pre-employment questions that can be asked:
- Can you meet the requirements of our attendance policy?
- Can you perform the tasks of this position with or without an accommodation?
Describe or demonstrate how you would perform this function, without or without an accommodation? (Such a question can be asked of applicants who have a known disability that might prevent them from performing a job function. If the disability would not interfere with a job function, however, the person could only be asked to demonstrate job performance if all other candidates must do so.)
If an applicant indicates s/he has performed a particular function with an accommodation, the potential employer may inquire about it.