Support Staff Policies & Procedures

Support Staff Disability /Reasonable Accommodations Policy & Procedure


Michigan State University is committed to hiring qualified persons with disabilities and fulfilling its responsibilities under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the Michigan Persons with Disabilities Civil Rights Act (MPDCRA).

The definition of a disability under the ADA is: A physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a record of such impairment or being regarded as having such an impairment.

The definition of a disability under the MPDCRA is:


A University employee or job applicant must follow these three steps to request an accommodation:

  1. The employee/applicant must self-identify as a person with a disability;
  2. The employee/applicant must provide medical documentation of the disability; and
  3. The employee/applicant must make a written request for an accommodation and provide supporting medical documentation, if requested.

This process involves the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities (RCPD), the employee/applicant, and the employee/applicant's supervisor/unit administrator. This process and each participant's role in it are described more fully below.

Employee / Applicant

At any time during the accommodation request process, the University may ask the employee/applicant for additional medical documentation of the disability and of the need for an accommodation. The employee/applicant must provide this additional documentation to facilitate the accommodation process.

The MPDCRA states that a person with a disability may not allege a violation of the MPDCRA unless the person with a disability notifies the University in writing of a need for an accommodation within 182 days after the date on which the person with a disability knew or reasonably should have known of the need for an accommodation.

Supervisor / Unit Administrator
If an employee/applicant requests an accommodation, the supervisor/unit administrator should refer the employee/applicant to the RCPD web site at or to the Disability Resource Coordinator for Employees.

The Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities (RCPD) 
The employee/applicant should contact the RCPD Disability Resource Coordinator to begin the accommodation process. The Disability Resource Coordinator for Employees will assist the supervisor/unit administrator in determining whether an accommodation is warranted, explore possible accommodations, and assess the effectiveness each would have in enabling the employee/applicant to perform his/her job.

Throughout the accommodation process, the Disability Resource Coordinator should not request information regarding:

What constitutes a reasonable accommodation will vary depending on the circumstances of each case. In evaluating alternatives for accommodation, the preferences of the individual are considered, but the ultimate decision regarding what type of accommodation, if any, will be provided is made by the University.

Medical documentation, as well as other related materials, will be maintained at the RCPD. Such documentation is kept confidential, except as necessary to administer the accommodation process. Accordingly, such documentation may be shared only with those individuals directly involved in the accommodation process on an as needed basis.

The Disability Resource Coordinator consults with employees/applicants and supervisors/unit administrators throughout the accommodation request process. During that process, the Disability Resource Coordinator will generally discuss the following issues:

During the accommodation request process, the RCPD may:

The RCPD makes a determination regarding implementation of accommodations. The RCPD will consider each request for reasonable accommodation and determine: (1) whether the accommodation is needed, (2) if needed, whether the accommodation would be effective, and (3) if effective, whether providing the reasonable accommodation would impose an undue hardship.

RCPD Mission Statement: Lead Michigan State University in maximizing ability and opportunity for full participation by persons with disabilities.

RCPD Philosophy: Disabilities need not preclude the achievement of goals and dreams. Rather, they mandate a greater level of creativity, commitment, and a repertoire of compensatory techniques. The team of professionals at the RCPD is ready to assist students, employees, and visitors with resources that create an environment of opportunity. We value full integration of persons with disabilities throughout the university mission, programs, and services. We believe that persons with disabilities at MSU are as much in control of their educational/work experience as a person without a disability.

If an employee/applicant or supervisor/unit administrator disagrees with the RCPD's determination, the decision may be appealed to the Director of the RCPD (please refer to the Dispute Resolution Procedure available on the RCPD website) or the ADA Coordinator in the Office of Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives.

Retaliation against an employee or applicant who requests an accommodation is prohibited. Individuals who feel that they have experienced retaliation may contact the ADA Coordinator in the Office of Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives.

Other Resources 
MSU Human Resources Talent Management facilitates placement of employees with work restrictions. Such placements may exceed the University's legal obligations. In these cases, the nature of the relevant work restrictions is shared with employing departments/units so that appropriate discussions about placement can take place. The University does not guarantee such placements nor does it waive its right to limit its responsibility to accommodate a person with a disability to the duties imposed by the applicable state and federal statutes.

Refer Questions to: The Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities, Michigan State University, 120 Bessey Hall, East Lansing, MI 48824-1033, (voice) 517/353-9642, (TTY) 517/355-1293, (fax) 517/432-3191, web site:

1) University employees and job applicants who are persons with a disability are not required to identify themselves as persons with a disability or to request an accommodation. However, the University cannot accommodate an individual who does not inform the University about his/her disability and his/her need for an accommodation.

2) Nothing in this document shall be construed to waive the University's right to contest whether an employee or applicant is disabled or is entitled to an accommodation.

3) The University conducts a survey of faculty, academic staff, and support staff employees for statistical purposes. This survey does not constitute a method of self-identification consistent with this policy.

4) This applies only to University employees and to applicants who have been offered a position, conditional or otherwise, with the University.

5) The essential functions are the fundamental job duties of the employment position at issue. To be qualified for a position, an individual must be able to perform the essential functions of the job, with or without a reasonable accommodation.

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