Reasonable Accommodation (Policy)

Policy Approve By
Scott McCallum, Superintendent
Policy Date (original policy date)
Policy Prepared By
Policy Category

SUBJECT: Reasonable Accommodation


This policy sets forth provisions for reasonably accommodating the WSSB qualified employees and candidates for employment consistent with federal and state law.


Disability – Is defined by federal and state law below:

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

Washington State Law Against Discrimination

Has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities,

The presence of a sensory, mental or physical impairment that is medically cognizable or diagnosable; or

Has a record of such impairment, or

Exists as a record or history; or

Is regarded as having such an impairment.

Is perceived to exist whether or not it exists in fact.

Equal Employment Opportunity – An opportunity to perform the essential functions or enjoy equal benefits and privileges of employment as are available to a similarly situated applicant or employee without a disability.

Essential Job Functions – The fundamental job duties performed in a position. A function may be essential because:

  • The position exists to perform that function.
  • There are a limited number of employees available who can perform the function.
  • The function is highly specialized.

The term “essential functions” does not include the marginal functions of the position.

Health Care Professionals – A person who has completed a course of study and is licensed to practice in a field of health care which includes the diagnosis and assessment of the particular disability or disabilities in question.

Qualified Individual with a Disability – An employee or job applicant who meets the skill, experience, education, and other job-related requirements of the position held or applied for, and who with or without reasonable accommodation can perform the essential functions of the job. 

Reasonable Accommodation – The modification or adjustment to a job, work environment, policies, practices or procedures that enable qualified individuals with disabilities to participate in the job application process, to perform the essential functions of a job, to enjoy equal employment opportunity or to ensure the opportunity for equal participation in work-related events during employment with the agency. 

Undue Hardship – An excessively costly, extensive, substantial or disruptive modification or adjustment or one that would fundamentally alter the nature or operation of the agency.


WSSB is committed to offering equal access to employment, services, and facilities for persons with disabilities.

It is the policy of the agency to not discriminate against qualified individuals with disabilities in regard to application procedures, hiring, advancement, discharge, compensation, training or other terms, conditions, and privileges of employment.

The agency will engage in the reasonable accommodation process with a qualified individual with a disability.

The need for a reasonable accommodation will not negatively impact the consideration of a qualified individual with a disability for employment, training, promotion, travel, participation in projects, committees or developmental work assignments or any other opportunity that may have an impact on an employee’s career development. Job applicants requiring reasonable accommodation to complete the application process should notify human resources.

Process to Request Reasonable Accommodation

Requests for reasonable accommodation will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis and handled in a timely manner. The process shall be interactive between the candidate or employee, supervisor and human resources, keeping the employee involved throughout. The agency is not obligated to accommodate persons who fail to cooperate.

Employees are welcome to approach their supervisor, human resources or other agency representative at any time to initiate discussions about reasonable accommodation(s).

When an employee has requested a reasonable accommodation and their disability is not obvious, HR may ask an employee to obtain a statement from a health care professional identifying the disability and how it limits the employee’s ability to perform the essential functions of their position. The agency will treat information about the presence or nature of a disability as confidential medical information, and will secure the information apart from the employee’s personnel file. 

When two or more effective accommodations allow a qualified individual with a disability an equal employment opportunity the agency shall select the reasonable accommodation to be provided to the individual.

If an employee cannot be reasonably accommodated in their current position, the department will ask the employee whether they want the agency to look for reassignment to a vacant funded position elsewhere in the agency. If so, the agency will look for a position that meets the following criteria:

  1. The position is one that the employee is qualified to perform.
  2. The position is at the same or lower salary level.
  3. The position meets the employee’s reasonable accommodation needs.

If there is a question whether a particular reasonable accommodation might cause an undue hardship or if a direct threat issue exists, then HR will work with the superintendent in assessing the concern.

A qualified person with a disability has the right to refuse an accommodation. However, when a person refuses a reasonable accommodation and cannot perform the essential functions of the job without the accommodation, the agency will not consider such person to be otherwise qualified and will treat the situation as a performance issue.

Disability Separation

When an employee cannot be reasonably accommodated, the agency may initiate a disability separation of the employee. An employee who is unable to perform the essential functions of the position due to a disability may also request a voluntary disability separation. Disability separation is not a disciplinary action.

Other Resources

Any person with a disability who feels discriminated against on the basis of a disability may either file an internal complaint with the superintendent, human resources or file a formal complaint with any of the following:

  1. The Washington State Human Rights Commission.
  2. The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
  3. The Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights.

Sources: Federal law – Americans with Disabilities Act

State law – Washington State Law Against Discrimination

State rule – 162-22-065 Purpose of Reasonable Accommodation           

State rule – 162-22-075 Undue Hardship

State rule – 162-22-090 Health Care Opinions

State rule – 357-16-090 Who has Responsibility for Requesting and Granting Reasonable Accommodation in the Examination Process  

State rule – 357-26-005 Provides Guidance to Employers

State rule – 357-26-010 When Reasonable Accommodation must be Provided

State rule – 357-26-015 What Action Employers Can Take

State rule – 357-26-020 Reasonable Accommodation Policy Requirement            

State rule – 357-26-025 Employee Right to Disability Separation

State rule – 357-46-160 Disability Separation Definition

State rule – 357-46-165 Employer Right to Disability Separation


2214 E. 13th St. · Vancouver, Washington 98661-4120 · (360) 696-6321 · FAX # (360) 737-2120

Request for accommodation form (pdf)