Employee Disability Overview

At The University of Iowa, we endeavor to assist applicants and employees who experience difficulties at work because of a health condition or disability. These experiences can be very different for each individual and may include concerns with communication, concentration, and/or interaction with others. Other abilities could be affected such as ability to move, see, speak, breath, sit, hear, learn, etc.

You may have heard of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAA). The ADA, as amended, is a federal law that assures people with disabilities are provided with the same opportunities for access and participation as people without disabilities. The law supplements Iowa State Code concerning rights of people with disabilities. The University of Iowa strives to provide equal opportunity in all aspects of employment, including recruitment, hiring, benefits, treatment, etc. When health and/or disability concerns substantially limit one or more known major life activities the University provides reasonable accommodation for the individual to have the same opportunity to work as an individual without a disability.

When your health or disability does not substantially limit your abilities but does cause concern, the University strives to provide reasonable assistance in these situations as well.

Regardless of coverage under these laws, the assistance we provide is in the form of accommodation that reduces or eliminates the difficulty experienced at work because of a health condition or disability. Reducing or eliminating this disability allows you the opportunity to be successful at work. We assist, guide, and coach you and your department in the identification of applicable reasonable accommodation and refer you to appropriate community and University resources, when needed.

On our website, you’ll find more information about disability. accommodations, leave and return to work programs, and services of our office. After you have read the information, if you believe your condition does cause you to have difficulties at work, begin by communicating your needs to your Human Resource Representative. Your HR Representative will contact our office and we will work with you and your HR Representative to identify solutions to work difficulties.

Frequently Asked Questions

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

Major Life Activities are activities that most people in the general population can perform with little or no difficulty. It includes activities such as “Caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, sitting, reaching, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, interacting with others, and working; and the operation of a major bodily function….”

Substantial limitations limit the ability of an individual to perform a major life activity as compared to most people in the general population.

A reasonable accommodation is any modification or adjustment, absent undue hardship, to the workplace that enables a qualified individual with a disability to complete the essential functions of his/her job. Many different factors go into determining if a reasonable accommodation would cause undue hardship. You can read more about undue hardship on the EEOC website.

  • Changes to a Work Environment: assistive technology, hand rails, light vs. sound alarms, air purifiers
  • Changes to Schedules/Procedures: altered work hour and/or days, additional training, modified process for completing a task, change in communication methods
  • Additional job training: job coaches
  • Assistance with mobility: mobility devices

The department is responsible to provide reasonable accommodation to eliminate the impact of the disability impeding the employee’s ability to perform the job. This accommodation must be effective but it may not be the specific accommodation the employee or the Treating Healthcare Practitioner requested.

In most cases, the employee’s department is responsible for the cost of the accommodation.

If it is determined that reasonable accommodation is not possible, a referral status may be given to the employee for a limited time, to other positions of equal or lower pay grades for which the employee is qualified.

You have several options if you think you’re experiencing discrimination related to a disability. Your HR rep is one of the best places to start if you think your supervisor or co-workers are discriminating against you. You may also call FSDS if you aren’t able to talk to your HR Rep. If your HR Rep or FSDS isn’t able to resolve your concern, you may contact EEOC. EEOC enforces that part of the ADAA that prohibits job discrimination. For information on reaching your local office, please call 800.669.4000 (voice), 800.669.6820 (TTY).

University Parking and Transportation. For more information go to the Parking and Transportation webpage. Information about the Bionic Bus and Cambus services are also provided.