As part of our commitment to providing equal employment opportunities, JHU provides reasonable workplace accommodations to qualified faculty, staff, residents and postdocs with disabilities.

** OIE does not review or process requests for medical exceptions for vaccine mandates. Occupational Health Services processes employee requests for medical exceptions for vaccine mandates. If you wish to submit proof of your COVID-19 vaccination or request a medical exception for the COVID-19 vaccine requirement, please do so via the University’s Vaccine Management System (VMS).

What is a reasonable workplace accommodation?

A reasonable accommodation is a modification or change in the workplace or the way things are customarily done that provides an equal employment opportunity to an individual with a disability. Examples of reasonable accommodations include but are not limited to: acquiring or modifying adaptive equipment, job restructuring, modified work schedules, sign language interpreting, removing physical barriers, and providing unpaid leave.

The following addresses who is eligible to receive accommodations, the process by which employees can request accommodations, and the expectations of supervisors and managers in engaging in the interactive process to determine what accommodations are appropriate.

Who can request an accommodation?

All qualified employees with disabilities, including regular, full-time, part-time, temporary, casual or limited employees, are eligible to request workplace accommodations. An employee is considered to have a disability if he or she has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activity, or if he or she has a record of such impairment.

Major life activities include, but are not limited to, caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating and working.

An employee is considered qualified if he or she has the requisite skills, experience and education to perform the job, and is able to perform the essential functions of the job with or without reasonable accommodation.

How to Request Accommodations

An employee is generally responsible for indicating his or her need for accommodation. To initiate the process, the employee should:

  1. Complete the Accommodation Request Form to OIE. If an employee makes a request for accommodation to someone other than OIE staff, such as a supervisor, manager or Human Resources professional, these individuals should forward the request to OIE via email at [email protected]. If you cannot submit the online form, please fill out the PDF and either e-mail or fax it to OIE.
  2. Submit the required documentation. This website includes important information about documentation guidelines for individual’s with disabilities.
    • A letter from the doctor that indicates:
      • The condition and its duration (i.e. anticipated RTW date);
      • The limitations caused by the condition and how those limitations impact the employee’s performance of the essential functions of the job; and
      • The accommodation(s) the employee and/or the employee’s doctor/medical professional believe will enable the employee to perform the essential functions of the job.
    • A treating professional is asked to complete a disability verification form in addition to a written letter that addresses the bullet points above.
    • A job description identifying the essential functions of the job. This information may be obtained from the employee’s supervisor or Human Resources.

Documentation Requirements

When an employee’s disability and/or his or her need for the accommodation are not readily apparent, the Office of Institutional Equity may request documentation of the condition and information on why the accommodation is necessary from an appropriate medical or mental health provider. If the initial documentation provided by the health professional is not sufficient, OIE will inform the employee and explain what additional information is needed. The employee is then responsible for obtaining the missing information from the health care provider.

The Office of Institutional Equity will engage in a dialogue with the employee about the specific ways the condition affects job functions and the reasonable accommodations that can be provided. Extensive dialogue may not be necessary when the existence of the disability and the need for the accommodation are obvious, and the supervisor and employee agree on the most effective reasonable accommodation.

Medical diagnosis information and disability documentation is not shared with the employee’s supervisor or manager. Documentation is maintained securely in the Office of Institutional Equity and does not become part of the employee’s personnel file.  Documentation may be shared with appropriate individuals at Occupational Health Services for assistance in interpreting the documentation.

As mentioned above, this website includes important information about documentation guidelines for individual’s with disabilities.

The Interactive Process

OIE will contact the supervisor/manager and the appropriate Human Resources representative to explore whether the requested accommodation is reasonable. This involves a discussion about the employee’s essential job functions and the impact of the accommodation on department operations. An accommodation is not considered reasonable if it would alter or remove an essential function of the employee’s job or create an undue hardship for the University. The determination of whether a requested accommodation is an undue hardship is a fact-specific inquiry that must be made on a case-by-case basis.

In the event that the requested accommodation is found to be unreasonable, the parties are expected to work together to determine what, if any, alternative accommodations may meet the employee’s needs.

After the parties have agreed on what accommodations are reasonable, OIE will provide an Workplace Accommodation Agreement for the parties to sign that documents the approved accommodations.

Both the employee and the supervisor/manager may request a review of the accommodations at any time. An employee’s receipt or denial of an accommodation does not prevent him or her from making another request at a later date if his or her needs change. Similarly, supervisors and managers may request a review of the approved accommodations if they believe that the business needs of the department currently make them unreasonable. The parties may contact the OIE to arrange a review of the accommodations at any time.

Accommodation Requests in the Pre-Hire Process

People with disabilities applying for positions at the University may request any accommodations they require to have an equal opportunity to participate in the pre-hire process. Applicants who require an accommodation should contact the appropriate divisional office as noted on the job posting to make their request. Supervisors, Managers and Human Resources staff may contact OIE if they are unsure whether or not an accommodation requested during the pre-hire process is reasonable or if they require resources on how to fulfill the applicant’s request.


Questions should be referred to the Office of Institutional Equity at (410) 516-8075 or [email protected].