HOP 3.4.5 Workplace Accommodations

Sec. 1 Purpose

This policy sets forth the commitment of The University of Texas System Administration (U. T. System) to comply with applicable federal and state laws regarding providing workplace accommodations and equal access and opportunity to qualified applicants and employees, including under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), as amended, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, and Chapter 21 of the Texas Labor Code.

Sec. 2 Principles

U. T. System is committed to promoting a culture of nondiscrimination that fosters inclusivity and accessibility in its employment practices. U.T. System will engage in an interactive process to better understand the applicant’s or employee’s request for a reasonable workplace accommodation related to a disability, lactation, or sincerely held religious beliefs, practices, or observances.   

Sec. 3 Disability and Accommodation

U. T. System will grant reasonable accommodations for known physical or mental limitations of an otherwise qualified individual with a disability who is an applicant or employee unless undue hardship or a direct threat to the health and safety of the individual or others would result. 

3.1 Accommodation Request Process

Any individual who requires information or would like to request an accommodation to perform the essential functions of their job, enjoy an equal employment opportunity, or obtain equal job benefits should contact their respective HR Business Partner, the ADA Coordinator, or the Office of Talent and Innovation (OTI). 

3.2 Interactive Process

U. T. System will engage in a good-faith interactive accommodation process with the applicant or employee requesting an accommodation to determine the nature of the disability or impairment and what reasonable accommodation(s) may be appropriate. In some cases, the interactive process may be triggered without a request from the employee, such as when the U.T. System receives notice from its observation or another source that a medical impairment may be impacting the employee’s ability to perform essential job functions.

Individuals seeking workplace accommodation(s) must specify what barriers or limitations prompted the request.  An accommodation can be requested at any time, either orally or in writing.

a) A supervisor notified by an employee of a physical or mental impairment that affects the employee’s ability to perform their job and a related request for a modification or adjustment to the work environment or conditions that would allow them to perform their job should immediately forward the request to OTI. The employee is not required to use the term “accommodation” or “reasonable accommodation” for the request to be considered a reasonable accommodation request. A supervisor uncertain whether an accommodation has been requested or may be necessary should contact their respective HR Business Partner.

b) OTI will contact the employee to initiate the interactive process and obtain additional information regarding the requested accommodation. When the disability or the need for accommodation is not obvious, the employee may be asked to provide additional information from a medical provider through a healthcare provider certification within a reasonable time from the date of notification to OTI. 

c) U. T. System will evaluate the information obtained from the employee and, if applicable, the employee’s healthcare provider or another appropriate healthcare provider regarding any reported or apparent barriers or limitations and will then work with the employee to identify possible accommodations, if any, that will help to eliminate or otherwise address the barrier(s) or limitation(s). If an identified accommodation is reasonable and will not impose an undue hardship on the U.T. System or a direct threat to the health and safety of the individual or others, the U.T. System will generally make the accommodation, or it may propose another reasonable accommodation which may also be effective. 

d) Generally, the employee’s supervisor will be involved in the reasonable accommodation process and included in the written response to the employee. Although employees may initially consult with the ADA Coordinator or their respective HR Business Partner without first informing their supervisor, supervisors are an essential part of the process and will be involved as necessary. Any other subject matter experts e.g., Electronic Information Resources EIR Coordinator, Facilities Manager, etc.) will also be brought into the discussion to ensure a clear understanding of the impact the recommended accommodations may have on the essential functions or the resources available to accommodate an employee to continue performing the job and maintain regular business operations.

e) Employees must cooperate with this process by providing all necessary documentation supporting the need for accommodation and being willing to consider alternative accommodations when applicable.  

3.3 Confidentiality of Records Related to Reasonable Accommodations

All offices and individuals responsible for handling reasonable accommodation requests will maintain the confidentiality of all medical and disability-related information concerning applicants and employees as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Medical and disability-related records will be maintained separately and accessible only to authorized personnel.

3.4 Periodic Review of Reasonable Accommodations

If a reasonable workplace accommodation is implemented, OTI will periodically confer with the employee with the disability to determine the effectiveness of and continuing need for the accommodation.

Sec. 4 Lactation Accommodation

U. T. System has established HOP 3.6.7 Lactation in the Workplace to ensure employees are aware of the availability of an accessible place, other than a multiple-user bathroom, which allows privacy and is shielded from view and free from intrusion from other employees and the public where the employee can express breast milk. HOP 3.6.7 also includes provisions related to lactation breaks.

Employees at the U. T. System building in Austin, Texas, can use the Mother’s Room on the 19th floor, which is strictly for expressing breastmilk and is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Employees may also use their private office, if applicable.

U. T. System offices outside of Austin, such as Midland, Irving, Houston, and Washington, D.C., also have designated rooms for expressing breastmilk. If an employee has questions regarding the designated space, they may contact their on-site designated supervisor or OTI.

U. T. System will otherwise treat lactation in the same manner that it addresses other non-incapacitating, pregnancy-related conditions and address lactation-related needs in the same manner that it addresses other non-incapacitating medical conditions, including requested time off for medical appointments, requested schedule changes, and other requested accommodations.

Sec. 5 Religious Accommodations

Employees should contact OTI or their immediate supervisor to request or discuss options available to accommodate their sincerely held religious belief, practice, or observance that conflicts with a work requirement. 

U. T. System may reasonably request additional information regarding the belief, observance, or practice to evaluate an accommodation request.

Sec. 6 Quiet Rooms and Other Benefits

Employees at the U.T. System building in Austin, Texas, can use designated quiet rooms for personal use or to observe religious obligations. The quiet rooms are available on a first-come, first-served basis and can be used throughout the day.

U.T. System offices outside of Austin, such as in Midland, Irving, Houston, and Washington, D.C., also have designated rooms that can serve to observe religious obligations. 

If an employee has questions about using a designated space as an accommodation, they may contact their designated supervisor or OTI.

Requesting an accommodation is optional and intended to help employees continue to perform their required job functions and enjoy equal employment opportunities. Utilizing a benefit available to all employees for their disability or religious beliefs only requires that the employee follow the appropriate and normal process to use such a benefit. It does not require the employee to disclose details on the disability or religious belief. For example, it is unnecessary to disclose the event for which an employee requests a floating holiday if the employee does not wish to disclose it. Similarly, other benefits like sick leave, use of quiet rooms, wellness center, etc., can also be used per policy without additional disclosures.

Sec. 7 Complaints

An employee or applicant who believes that they were denied a reasonable accommodation, discriminated against based on a disability or due to their religion, or retaliated against due to an accommodation request may submit a complaint to OTI or initiate a grievance per HOP 3.5.3. Grievance.

OTI encourages employees to address compliance concerns through normal administrative channels. However, there are other methods for reporting suspected compliance and ethics violations, such as talking to your supervisor or department head, contacting the System Administration Compliance Officer, calling the System Administration hotline at 1-877-217-2426, or providing a report online.


Disability - a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits at least one or more major life activities, a record of such an impairment, or being regarded as having such an impairment.

Interactive Process – the process in which the U.T. System and an applicant or employee work together to assess whether the individual’s accommodation request can be reasonably accommodated. This process allows the U. T. System and the applicant or employee to determine the best approach to incorporate the request and better understand individual circumstances, including the limitations created by a disability and how best to respond to the individual’s needs. OTI will contact the applicant or employee to engage in this process upon notification or becoming aware of an applicant’s or employee’s need for accommodation. 

Qualified Individual with a Disability - An individual who meets all the skills, experience, knowledge, educational, and other job requirements for the position and can perform the position's essential functions with or without reasonable accommodation.

Reasonable Accommodation – any modifications or adjustments to a job application process that enable a qualified applicant with a disability to be considered for the desired position; any modifications or adjustments to the work environment or to the manner or circumstances under which the position held or desired is customarily performed, that enable a qualified individual with a disability to perform the essential functions of that position; or any modifications or adjustments that will allow an employee with a disability to enjoy equal benefits and privileges of employment as are enjoyed by similarly situated employees without disabilities.

Undue Hardship - undue hardship shall conform to definitions provided by federal and state statutes. In determining whether an accommodation would impose an undue hardship, factors to consider include but are not limited to the nature and cost of the accommodation, the impact of the accommodation upon the nature and operation of the department, and how the request would affect the health and safety of other employees.