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Employee Accommodation Process

All educational programs, activities and employment practices shall be conducted without discrimination based on race, color, creed, national origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, domestic partner status or physical or mental disability, including AIDS/ARC/HIV status.

"Disability" shall be defined in accordance with all applicable state and federal law. The lack of English proficiency shall not be a barrier to equal educational opportunities.

Paul Tan, Management Assistant
Phone: 415-241-6101 x1217
Fax: 415-241-6147

555 Franklin Street, 2nd Floor 
San Francisco, CA 94102

Ergonomic Evaluation Requests

SFUSD offers ergonomic evaluations in an effort to make appropriate adjustments/modifications to an employee's workstation and equipment, and prevent ongoing physical discomfort from occurring. Please complete an ergonomic evaluation request and send to HR only if you are experiencing minor discomfort from repetitive movements, have pain from a bad workstation arrangement, or want to prevent pain or discomfort caused by either. Upon request submission, be advised that the completion of an ergonomic evaluation may take up to two weeks.

Employees looking to improve their workspace ergonomics are encouraged to complete the SFUSD self evaluation online at:  

If the suggested ergonomic modifications are not beneficial then it may be necessary to request a thorough ergonomic evaluation of your workspace.  (see attached request)

ADA Reasonable Accommodation Procedures for Employee Requests

  1. Collect Forms, Job Analysis, and Health Information

    1. Site Administrator Provides Employee with ADA Reasonable Accommodation Information Letter, Request Form, Medical Authorization & Release Form, and "Your rights Under the ADA"

      An employee who needs a reasonable accommodation must communicate that need to his/her site administrator or supervisor. Any site administrator who receives a written or oral request or statement from an employee expressing the need for an adjustment, equipment, or other change at work for a reason related to a physical or mental health condition must provide the employee with (1) the ADA reasonable accommodation information letter, (2) the reasonable accommodations packet, and (3) the informational summary, "Your Rights Under the ADA." If there is no question about existence of a disability and if the accommodation can be provided easily at the site or department level, it is expected that administrators and supervisors will provide the accommodation at that level and notify the ADA Coordinator of the Human Resources Department (HR) and the Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity Office (AA/EO) accordingly.

      The site administrator must fax or forward a copy of the acknowledgement letter immediately to the ADA Coordinator and the AA/EO Office. One copy should be kept by the site administrator.

      The employee is informed in the letter and in the informational summary that the employee may request union representation, all communications should be directed to the representative. The site administrator must act immediately so that a response can be communicated to the employee as soon as possible and within thirty (30) days of the date the letter is sent.

      The site administrator or supervisor should not discuss the reasonable accommodation request with any other employee.

    2. HR determines Whether the Request is Covered by Workers’ Compensation, Family Medical Leave Act, California Rights Act, etc. and Begins Research on Essential Job Functions.

      1. Determine Whether the Request Falls Under Another process.
        HR evaluates the employee’s request to confirm that it falls under the ADA and not another process (Family Medical Leave Act, Workers’ Compensation, etc.
        See ADA and Other Laws in appendix.). If the request falls under another process, the ADA Coordinator notifies the supervisor/administrator that the request will be processed accordingly.
      2. HR Researches Essential Functions of Employee’s Position and Provides Job Analysis to the HR ADA Coordinator.
      3. If the HR Department has determined that the request falls under the jurisdiction of the ADA, HR researches the following documentation to obtain baseline information regarding the essential functions of the employee’s position to forward to the ADA Coordinator:
        1. the available job specification for the classification and relevant classification materials;
        2. the most recent job announcement for the classification
        3. job analysis information for the classification
        4. performance appraisal reports for the job duties portion for the employee’s position
        5. HR confers with operations administrators and/or employee’s supervisor regarding the essential functions of the employee’s position.
        HR should contact the Workers’ Compensation Office to determine whether job analysis information for the employee’s position was already collected because of a workers’ compensation claim and to inquire into the status of the claim. If a workers’ compensation claim exists, there may be sufficient information to make a determination regarding the request for reasonable accommodation.
        If there is insufficient information to perform an adequate job analysis, it is the responsibility of operations and/or site administrators to assist the HR in obtaining the necessary information.
        ADA Coordinator Reviews Procedure with Employee and Collects Completed Forms.
        The employee contacts the ADA Coordinator pursuant to the acknowledgement letter. Even though an employee’s disability may be obvious or known, the ADA Coordinator contacts or meets with the employee (1) to review the reasonable accommodation procedure and to begin an interactive process; (2) to collect the completed forms which must be completed and signed by the employee before any action can be taken; (3) to discuss with the employee the need for and availability medical documentation (which may already be available from the employee). The ADA Coordinator logs receipt of all letters and forms.

        If the employee’s need for the accommodation is not obvious, the coordinator may request documentation of the individual’s functional limitations to support the request. A medical examination may be required to determine whether the employee has a disability as defined by the ADA, whether the employee is entitled to an accommodation, and if so, to assist HR, the ADA Coordinator and the site administrator in identifying an effective accommodation.

        If the completed forms are not submitted, the employee should be encouraged to return the forms as soon as possible so that the request can be addressed in a timely manner.

        When the ADA Coordinator receives the completed forms from the employee and opens a separate, confidential file. The ADA coordinator begins to document all activity using the Coordinator Checklist.

        Note: California State Law, the ADA, and the Civil Service Commission’s Employee Personnel File Policy mandate that medical records of employees be kept CONFIDENTIAL. All correspondence, note, conversations, physician’s reports and any additional information pertaining to an employee’s specific medical condition must be handled and filed in a manner that will protect the employee’s confidentiality.

      4. ADA Coordinator Verifies medical Condition.
        In general, if the medical condition is known or obvious and it is clear that it substantially limits a major life activity, it is not necessary to contact the health care provider to verify the condition, unless there is a question regarding whether the employee is able to perform the essential functions of the position with or without a reasonable accommodation.

        If additional information is necessary from the employee’s health care provider, the ADA Coordinator send copies of the employee’s (1) Medical Authorization and Release form, (2) the Health Care Provider Certification form, (3) including the essential functions of the job, and (4) the cover letter to the health care provider with instructions to have the forms returned within two weeks. The ADA Coordinator will provide the employee with the courtesy copies of forms and all follow-up correspondence sent to the health care provider. The forms completed by the health care provider will help to determine if the employee is a qualified individual with a disability, and that the employee is a qualified individual with a disability, and that the employee is able to perform the essential functions of the position with or without reasonable accommodation.

        After the forms are returned by the health care provider(s), the ADA Coordinator will follow-up with them for further information if necessary. A written confirmation of any information obtained by telephone should be sent to the provider and placed in the file. The ADA Coordinator may also contact the employee, as this is an employee-initiated process, to determine eligibility for accommodation and evaluate the efficacy of the requested accommodation.

        If the Health Care Provider Information is Insufficient or an Independent Confirmation is Necessary, ADA Coordinator Makes a Referral to SFGH-Occupational Health Service.

        If the information received from the health care provider: a) remains substantially limits a major life activity and whether the employee can perform the essential functions of the job; the district may request a CSC Rule 16 (16.2) Medical unclear despite district’s efforts; or, b) the district wishes to confirm whether the employee has a physical or mental impairment that Examinations to have the employee evaluated by San Francisco General Hospital Occupational Health Service (SFGH-OHS).

        To make a referral to SFGH-OHS, the ADA Coordinator must submit to the City and County of San Francisco Department of Human Resources (DHR):

        1. an explanation for the need for the SFGH-OHS examination: (specific information must be requested, i.e. information that was not provided by the employee’s health care provider, rather than a request to perform a generic review of a complex medical case).
        2. Available medical information
        3. The medical release used for the reasonable accommodation request may be used for SFGH-OHS referral;
        4. Specific information on the essential functions of the employee’s position, job specifications, job analysis information.

        DHR may refer the employee to SFGH-OHS even if there is a current workers’ compensation claim pending, so long as the basis for the reasonable accommodation request is different from the workers’ compensation claim. If a workers’ compensation claim is pending, check with the workers’ compensation office to determine whether a referral may be made.

        If the District proceeds with a SFGH-OHS medical appointment referral, contact DHR to schedule the appointment. SFGH-OHS will notify the employee and district in writing of the appointment and bill the district for the SFGH-OHS examination.

        SFGH-OHS may comment on or provide an opinion regarding the proposed accommodation identified by the department and may refer individuals for further testing or specialist evaluation.

  2. ADA Coordinator Determines Whether the Employee is an ADA Qualified Individual with a Disability

    The ADA Coordinator reviews all medical and health information gathered to determine whether the employee has a physical or mental impairment. If the employee does not, the employee is not eligible for an accommodation. If the employee does, the Coordinator must determine whether the impairment substantially limits a major life activity. If the impairment does not substantially limit a major life activity, the employee does not have a disability as defined by the ADA and is not eligible for an accommodation. If the impairment substantially limits life activity, the employee is eligible for a reasonable accommodation.

    Temporary, non-chronic impairments of short duration which have little or no long-term or permanent impact are usually not disabilities. Examples of temporary impairments that are no considered disabilities include appendicitis, broken limbs, concussions, sprained joints, and influenza.

  3. ADA Coordinator and Employee’s Supervisor consider Reasonable Accommodation Options

    1. Consideration of Reasonable Accommodation

      The ADA requires that a reasonable accommodation must be effective, but it need not be the best accommodation available, nor the one requested by the employee or employee’s health care provider.

      The ADA Coordinator confers, as appropriate, with the employee’s supervisor/administrator, the relevant HR administrator, the business services Department, the Facilities and Planning Department and/or other administrators to evaluate:

      1. whether an accommodation is necessary based on medical information;
      2. whether the requested accommodation is reasonable and effective;
      3. whether there are other effective accommodations which may be preferable;
      4. whether there is risk of harm, as an effective accommodation is one which permits the employee to perform the essential functions of the position without endangering the employee or others

    2. Consideration of an Interim Accommodation

      Although not required by the ADA, pending receipt of information from the health care provider, the ADA Coordinator may consider an interim accommodation if feasible. When considering an interim accommodation relevant MOUs should be considered for other requirements that may apply.

      If it is determined that an interim accommodation will be provided, the interim accommodation response letter should indicate a reasonable timeframe (for example, for a two-week period with the possibility of extensions for additional periods with the total time for the interim accommodation not to exceed six weeks). An employee who receives an interim accommodation must be advised that the provision of an interim must be advised that the provision of an interim accommodation would be unduly costly, extensive, substantial, disruptive or fundamentally alter the nature or operation of the department, district, or site. If this is the conclusion, the ADA Coordinator must consider:

      1. whether an accommodation is necessary based on medical information;
      2. whether the requested accommodation is reasonable and effective;
      3. whether there are other effective accommodations which may be preferable;
      4. whether there is risk of harm, as an effective accommodation is one which permits the employee to perform the essential functions of the position without endangering the employee or others.

  4. ADA Coordinator Makes Recommendation and Obtains Approval

    The ADA Coordinator will make a recommendation based on information reviewed. The Coordinator may consult and review the recommendation with other resources such as the SFGH-OHS medical staff, the City Attorney’s Office, union representatives if authorized by the employee to receive such information, and others. If an accommodation is determined to feasible, the ADA Coordinator will secure the approval of the relevant HR administrator and, where the accommodation requires the involvement of the Facilities & Planning Department, the approval of that department. The Coordinator should also consult with the SFUSD AA/EO Office or the school district attorney for concurrence prior to advising the employee. Consistent with MOU provisions (e.g. SEIU), if there is a conflict between a proposed accommodation and the provisions of the applicable MOU, the district and/or ADA Coordinator will notify the union and attempt to resolve the issue. Once approval is obtained, the reasonable accommodation must be implemented with the cooperation of all SFUSD staff members whose involvement is necessary to achieving the accommodation.

    1. Contact Employee to Discuss Determination

      The ADA Coordinator will contact the employee within thirty (30) days of the date of the acknowledgement letter to discuss the district’s progress in determining his/her ADA status as a qualified individual with a disability and his/her requests for accommodation. Follow up with written notice as described below

    2. Written Notification of Decision
      1. Approval
        If the accommodation is authorized by the HR Department with appropriate consultation, the ADA Coordinator sends to the employee the accommodation approval letter describing the accommodation that will be provided. A copy of the notice will be kept by the ADA Coordinator for inclusion in the separate confidential file and a copy is sent to the site administrator. A copy will also be sent to the AA/EO Office.

        If the employee meets ADA criteria as a qualified individual with a disability but cannot be accommodated in her/his own department or site for reasons of undue hardship or safety reasons, the ADA Coordinator informs the employee and offers the interactive process by requesting that the employee provide ideas for:

        1. alternate methods of accommodation that may be considered; and/or,
        2. methods to reduce the significant risk of substantial harm to an acceptable level;
        3. other possible positions within the district

        The employee has the right to refuse a particular accommodation that is offered. However, once the district offers the employee and effective accommodation, the district has met its obligation under the ADA. If the employee refuses the accommodation and cannot perform the essential functions of the current position without accommodation, he or she may no longer be qualified for the position.

        If the ADA Coordinator and HR have explored and exhausted the possibility of reasonable accommodation in the employee’s current classification within the department, or site, may be considered.

      2. Denial
        If a reasonable accommodation cannot be provided in the district because the employee is determined not to meet ADA criteria or an accommodation would be an undue hardship to the district, the ADA Coordinator sends a notice to the employee and advises the employee of his/her options which, depending on the individual’s situation, may include:
        1. ADA transfer to another site or department; (not applicable if employee is not a qualified individual with a disability);
        2. lateral transfer;
        3. reinstatement to previous permanent position, if applicable;
        4. application to other jobs through civil service process;
        5. retirement or disability retirement.

        The employee will be notified by letter denying request for accommodation of the reasons for the denial. HR will identify appropriate options with names and numbers of the contact persons for inclusion in the denial letter by the ADA Coordinator. A copy of the denial notice will be forwarded to HR and the employee’s supervisor or administrator.

      3.  Notification that Requests is Under Consideration

        The District will respond in writing to an employee’s request for reasonable accommodation within thirty (30) days. If a determination on the request cannot be made within that time and the interactive process is continuing, the employee will be notified every thirty (30) days in writing of the status of the request. Copies of such correspondence will be sent to HR and the employee’s supervisor or site administrator.

  5. ADA Coordinator Periodically Monitors Continuing Need and Reasonableness of Accommodation Granted

    The ADA Coordinator will periodically monitor the continuing need and reasonableness of the particular accommodation granted. The need for the frequency of monitoring will be determined on a case-to-case basis. If the ADA Coordinator finds that an alternative accommodation has become possible, is more cost-effective, more convenient, or less burdensome to the District, the ADA

    Coordinator will initiate discussions with the employee regarding the alternative accommodations(s). If the ADA Coordinator determines that the alternative is an effective and reasonable accommodation, the Coordinator may notify the employee of the change in the accommodation granted to the employee.

  6. HR Actions Following Denial or Exhaustion of Reasonable Accommodation Options

    If it is determined that a reasonable accommodation cannot be made for an employee, and the employee cannot successfully exercise one of the options enumerated above, the district may take appropriate action including:

    1. Offer the employee the opportunity to take any leave of absence to which the employee may be entitled;
    2. Permit employee to resign from position;
    3. Terminate or dismiss employee on the ground of inability to perform the essential functions of the position.