5.2.3 Accommodating Disabled Employees, Pregnant Women, and New Birth MothersMany but not all positions in the archdiocese are
protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act and the federal Pregnant Workers Fairness Act. In accordance with
Catholic teaching on social justice, the archdiocese as a matter of
policy reasonably accommodates all job applicants and employees who
qualify as disabled, women who are pregnant, and new birth mothers, so that they can perform the essential functions of
their job. An individual with a qualifying disability is a person
who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one
or more major life activities, has a record of such an impairment, or is
regarded as having such an impairment. A short-term disability such as a
broken leg that heals normally does not qualify as a disability
requiring reasonable accommodation; a chronic condition that resolves
itself but can return, such as migraines or asthma, does qualify.
Employers are also required to provide reasonable accommodations for a woman's known limitations arising out of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions.
at a reasonable accommodation is a multi-step process known as the
"interactive process." The usual steps in the process are as follows:
employee informs the employer that he or she has a physical or mental disability, is a pregnant woman, or is a new birth mother and needs
accommodation, or the employer has reason to know or believes that the
employee is disabled, a pregnant woman, or a new birth mother and is limited in performing the essential
functions of the job.
This information triggers the employer's
duty to engage in a good faith, ongoing, interactive process of seeking
and providing information to arrive at a reasonable accommodation.
employer should determine if the employee's condition (whether arising from a physical or mental disability or pregnancy/birth related) qualifies as a condition that needs accommodation (the employee can be asked to
provide medical certification of the pertinent condition).
employer should determine if the condition in fact impairs the
employee's ability to perform the essential functions of the job (the
essential functions of the job should be listed in the job description).
employer should discuss with the employee the exact nature of the
limitations and what types of accommodation would be most effective (the
only limit on an accommodation is whether it would impose an undue
hardship on the employer to provide it, like remodeling or extensive
adaptation of the facilities; extending a leave of absence beyond the
time granted by archdiocesan policy may be required as a reasonable
The employer should respond expeditiously to a
request for a reasonable accommodation but the response does not have to
The employer does not have to provide the
employee's preferred accommodation as long as the accommodation offered
enables the employee to perform the essential functions of the job.
an employee refuses to participate in the process or does not provide
sufficient information to help the employer determine what kind of
accommodation to offer, the employer cannot be liable for failure to
The employer should follow up periodically with the employee to make sure that the accommodation remains effective or necessary.
employer should document all steps in the interactive process
carefully, ask the employee to sign an acknowledgment of the
accommodation provided, and place all documents in the employee's separate
Because the interactive process can be
complicated and significant liability can result for failure to
accommodate, consult with the Human Resources Department when an
employee makes a request for reasonable accommodation.Note:
Students with disabilities are entitled to minor adjustments. For
information about the process of responding to a disabled student's
needs, see Inclusion Policies and Procedures.