Equal Employment Opportunities for Individuals with Disabilities and Grievance Procedure
Board of Trustees Policy: 6.5
Date: April 2013
Supersedes: October 2011
This policy affirms and describes the College’s commitment to the principles of equal employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities and sets forth the actions to be taken by the College and its employees concerning employment opportunities for qualified individuals with disabilities. It also establishes grievance procedures to report a violation.
General Policy of the College
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as amended in 2008, effective January 1, 2009, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (the Rehab Act), as well as Pennsylvania law prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities because of their disabilities. The College will not discriminate against individuals with disabilities.
The College has a Section 504 Coordinator who handles appeals of reasonable accommodation decisions and allegations of discrimination due to disability. The Section 504 Coordinator is Director of Equity and Diversity Initiatives and may be reached in the Human Resources Offices in College Hall on the Central Campus, at 215-619-7383.
- The College will not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of a known disability in regard to any position for which the employee or applicant is qualified. Hiring practices and job placement will be commensurate with ability to perform assigned work. Employees with disabilities will receive the same regular compensation as those with no disabilities for like work.
- The College, to ensure its commitment to equal employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities, will take positive steps to employ, advance in employment, and otherwise treat known qualified individuals with disabilities without discrimination based upon their disability in all employment practices, including but not limited to the following: application, testing, hiring, work assignments, evaluation, promotion, transfer, disciplinary actions, recruitment or recruitment advertising, layoff/recall, termination or demotion, rates of pay or other forms of compensation.
- The College will provide, upon request, reasonable accommodation to known employees with qualified disabilities, if that is needed to enable them to perform the essential functions of their job and provided that it does not pose an undue hardship. Montgomery County Community College is not required to lower quality or quantity standards to make an accommodation. Employees may request such accommodation by contacting their immediate supervisor, the Executive Director of Human Resources, the Director of Equity and Diversity Initiatives, or the College Nurse.
Disability: A physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a record of having such impairment, or being regarded as having one even if the person does not actually have the condition. 1
Such an impairment may be episodic or in remission as long as it would still substantially limit a major life activity when active. Such an impairment may have applicable mitigating measures that may or be not be employed by the individual in question, without being removed from the definition of disability.
The definition of disability should be interpreted broadly except that those who are merely "regarded as" having a disability, without in fact have an actual disability or a record of such physical or mental impairment as defined herein, are not entitled to reasonable accommodation. However, those who are merely "regarded as" having a disability and receive discriminatory treatment as a result, e.g., failure to hire, will meet the definition of a disability, unless the "regarded as" condition is transitory and minor.
Qualified Individual with a Disability: A person with a disability who meets the skill, experience, education, and other job-related requirements and who, with or without reasonable accommodation, can perform the essential functions of the job.
Major Life Activities: Activities that an average person can perform with little or no difficulty. (Examples: 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.)
Major life activities include the operation of major bodily functions, including functions of the immune system, special sense organs and skin, normal cell growth, digestive, genitourinary, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, cardiovascular, endocrine, hemic, lymphatic, musculoskeletal, and reproductive functions as well as the operation of an individual organ within a body system (e.g., the operation of the kidney, liver, or pancreas).
The above examples of major life activities that a person or a person’s body can perform with little or no difficulty is not meant to be exhaustive.
Reasonable Accommodations: An accommodation is any change in the work environment or in the way things are usually done which results in equal employment opportunity for all individuals with a disability. Montgomery County Community College will make reasonable accommodations to the known physical or mental limitations of a qualified employee with a disability, unless the accommodation would cause an undue hardship on the institution. Montgomery County Community College is not required to lower quality or quantity standards to make an accommodation.
|1||The ADA does not provide a limited enumerated list of conditions that constitute a disability. The definition stated above is intended to be general enough to include a myriad of conditions, while also restricting applicability to "substantial" limits on major life activities.|
Complaints of Discrimination Based Upon a Disability
Employee, Faculty and Student Responsibilities
Each employee, faculty member, administrator and student of the College is personally responsible for ensuring that s/he does not engage in conduct that violates this policy. Each employee, faculty member, administrator and student is responsible for cooperating in any investigation of alleged harassment, discrimination or retaliation if requested to do so by the person conducting the investigation.
Anyone who believes that s/he, or any other member of the College community, to be a victim of disability discrimination, harassment or retaliation prohibited by this policy, whether by a supervisor, a co-worker, faculty member, student, vendor, contractor or any other person with whom s/he comes in contact at the College, in the course of any educational program or activity at the College, should report the incident directly to the Executive Director of Human Resources (at 215-641-6656) or the Director of Equity and Diversity Initiatives/Section 504 Coordinator for the College (at 215-619-7383). Both are located in the Human Resources Offices in College Hall on the Central Campus. Any person who receives a complaint of disability discrimination, harassment or retaliation from an employee or student, or who otherwise knows or has reason to believe that an employee or student has been subjected to disability discrimination, harassment or retaliation, is expected to report the incident promptly to the Executive Director of Human Resources or the Director of Equity and Diversity Initiatives for the College.
The Executive Director of Human Resources or the Director of Equity and Diversity Initiatives will conduct a prompt and appropriate investigation into any allegation of disability discrimination, harassment or retaliation, so as to enable a prompt and equitable response under all circumstances and in a fair and expeditious manner. The investigation by the Executive Director of Human Resources or the Director of Equity and Diversity Initiatives will be completed within 15 days of receipt unless the timeframe must be extended for good cause by the Executive Director of Human Resources or the Director of Equity and Diversity Initiatives. The Executive Director of Human Resources or the Director of Equity and Diversity Initiatives will allow the parties to present witnesses and other evidence during the investigation.
In the event that the investigation reveals that disability discrimination, harassment, retaliation or other inappropriate or unprofessional conduct (even if not unlawful) has occurred, further action will be taken, including disciplinary action, such as but not limited to reprimand, change in work assignment, loss of privileges, mandatory training or suspension, and/or immediate termination. If it is determined that inappropriate conduct has occurred, the College will act promptly to eliminate the offending conduct, and where appropriate, the College also will impose disciplinary action. The College will take steps to prevent the recurrence of any disability discrimination, harassment and/or retaliation by taking the appropriate action, which may depending upon the circumstances, include disciplinary action, reprimand, change in work assignment, loss of privilege, mandatory training or suspension, and/or immediate termination.
All actions taken to investigate and resolve complaints through this procedure shall be conducted with as much privacy, discretion and confidentiality as possible without compromising the thoroughness and fairness of the investigation. All persons involved are to treat the situation with respect. To conduct a thorough investigation, the investigator(s) may discuss the complaint with witnesses and those persons involved in or affected by the complaint, and those persons necessary to assist in the investigation or to implement appropriate disciplinary actions.
Upon completion of the investigation, the individual(s) who made the complaint and the individual(s) against whom the complaint was made will be advised of the results of the investigation in writing and, where a remedy is determined to be appropriate, to inform the parties of the steps that will be taken to remedy the situation.
Either the Complainant or Respondent may file an appeal of any decision concerning the resolution of the Executive Director of Human Resources or the Director of Equity and Diversity Initiatives’ investigation. An appeal by either party must be made, in writing to Human Resources or the Office of Equity and Diversity Initiatives within 15 days of receipt of the notice of resolution of the matter. The written appeal must state, in detail, the reason(s) for the appeal and shall address one or more of the following:
- If the appeal alleges that the findings of the investigator included relevant factual errors or omitted relevant facts, the appeal shall specify each factual error and/or details of each relevant fact that was omitted from the investigation.
- If the appeal alleges substantive procedural errors, the person appealing shall identify each instance of said substantive procedural error.
- If the appeal alleges relevant or substantive issues or questions concerning interpretation of College policy, the person appealing shall state, in detail, the issues or questions supporting this allegation.
- If the appeal alleges that new information or evidence exists, the appeal shall specify the reason why this information was not available or not provided to the Investigator during the course of the investigation, including the reason why the information could not have been provided on a timely basis.
- If the appeal alleges either that action or inaction of the supervisor in response to the findings of the investigation will not prevent future violations of this policy, the person appealing will specify, in detail, the reason(s) and basis for this allegation.
No disciplinary or other action based upon the original complaint findings shall be taken against the alleged offender during the appeals process, although temporary, interim measures may remain in place. The appeal process will be conducted in an impartial manner by an impartial decision-maker.
No Retaliation for Filing a Complaint of Disability Discrimination or Harassment
Retaliation against any individual for making a complaint of disability discrimination or harassment, or for assisting in the investigation of such a complaint is a violation of this policy and will not be tolerated. Any acts of retaliation will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action, such as but not limited to reprimand, change in work assignment, loss of privileges, mandatory training or suspension and/or immediate termination.
Anyone who knowingly makes a false accusation of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation will be subject to appropriate sanctions which may include, but are not limited to, written warning, demotion, transfer, suspension, dismissal, expulsion or termination.
College Investigators of Complaints of Disability Discrimination or Harassment
In addition to Executive Director of Human Resources or the Director of Equity and Diversity Initiatives, the following investigators are designated as those persons who are charged with coordinating the College’s implementation of this policy, and investigating complaints of disability discrimination, harassment, or retaliation for the College. They may be contacted to initiate an investigation under the policy or to answer questions regarding this policy. The College also reserves the right to retain an outside investigator(s) to investigate complaints regarding violations of this policy.
- Vice President, Academic Affairs
- Vice President, Student Affairs
The Complainant or the Respondent might allege that the investigator has a substantial conflict of interest that might impair his/her ability to conduct a fair and impartial investigation of the allegations. In that event, details supporting the alleged conflict of interest must be submitted, in writing, to Human Resources or the Office of Equity and Diversity Initiatives within 5 days of receiving notice of the identity of the investigator. A determination will be made about the existence of a conflict of interest and, if such a conflict is found to exist, an alternative investigator will be appointed as expeditiously as possible. In the event that a request is made and an alternate investigator must be appointed, any specific time line provided for in the complaint procedure shall be suspended pending the determination and/or appointment.
State and Federal Agencies
In addition to the above, employees who believe that they may have been subjected to disability discrimination, harassment or retaliation, may file a formal complaint with government agencies set forth below. Students may file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education. Using the College’s complaint process does not prohibit an employee or student from filing a complaint with these agencies.
- United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”)
801 Market Street, Suite 1300
Philadelphia, PA 19107-3127
- Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (“PHRC”)
Philadelphia Regional Office
110 North 8th Street, Suite 501
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 560-3599 TTY users only
- U.S. Department of Education
Office of Civil Rights
U.S. Department of Education
The Wanamaker Building
100 Penn Square East, Suite 515
Philadelphia, PA 19107-3323
Telephone: (215) 656-8541
Facsimile: (215) 656-8605