Equal Employment Opportunity

Policies and Procedures Manual Section 2

The Office of Institutional Equity administers Western Michigan University's equal employment opportunity policies and practices. Where appropriate, links are provided to applicable information/policies at wmich.edu/equity. Concerns, questions, and complaints regarding equal employment opportunity should be directed to the Office of Institutional Equity.

WMU equal opportunity statement

The WMU equal opportunity statement is located on the Office of Institutional Equity website.

Non-discrimination policy

The non-discrimination policy is located on the Western Michigan University Policies website.

Impact on hiring, promotional, and employee relations activities

Compliance with the University's equal employment opportunity commitment requires that equal employment opportunity policies be considered in all hiring, promotional, and employee relations activities.

  • Promotions. The job opportunity program is designed to offer promotional opportunities to current staff members. Strict adherence to program policy is required in order to protect the equal employment opportunity interests of the University community. There are also established procedures for recruiting, interviewing, and hiring external applicants. These are designed to assure equal employment opportunity.
  • Recruiting. Walk-in recruitment by individual departments or units is prohibited and is contrary to the University's commitment to equal employment opportunity. All employment inquiries are to be immediately referred to Careers and Job Postings, in accordance with established procedures.
  • Interviewing. Employment interviews are to be conducted only with applicants who have been referred by Human Resources. All personnel who are responsible for interviewing are expected to conduct interviews in compliance with equal employment opportunity practices. Human Resources staff are available to discuss appropriate interviewing techniques.
  • Hiring decisions. Decisions to hire must be based upon non-discriminatory criteria. An offer of employment may not be made until approval is obtained from the Office of Institutional Equity.
  • Employee relations. All employee relations activities, such as leave approval, work assignments and schedules, disciplinary action, and any other general office activities, must be administered equitably and in accordance with the University's non-discrimination policy.

Americans with Disabilities Act

The Office of Institutional Equity administers the Americans with Disabilities Act policies and practices. Concerns, questions, and complaints regarding the ADA should be directed to the Office of Institutional Equity.

For the full Western Michigan University ADA policy, please visit the Office of Institutional Equity's Disability Web page.

The ADA extends civil rights protection in regard to job application procedures, hiring, promotion, transfers, discharge, layoffs, training, compensation, and fringe benefits by barring discrimination against any otherwise qualified individual because of a disability, perceived disability, a record of a disability, or a relationship to someone with a disability. Companion state legislation is defined in the Michigan Handicappers Civil Rights Act, and the provisions in both pieces of legislation pertain to Western Michigan University.

This policy is intended to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. To the extent that any provision in this policy is ambiguous and/or contradicts the Act, the language of the Act will prevail.

  1. Definition of disability. The ADA defines a person with a disability as one who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of such individual, has a record of such impairment, is regarded as having such an impairment, or is associated with persons who fit with one of the foregoing three categories. Examples of disabilities covered under the ADA include: substantial hearing, visual, or speech impairment; paralysis; limited or no use of limbs; mental retardation; learning disability; epilepsy; and AIDS or HIV virus. Examples of items not covered under the ADA include current users of illegal drugs; problems like gambling or kleptomania; or temporary impairment from injuries or illness.
  2. Protection under the ADA. A person with a disability that meets the above definition is protected under the ADA if he/she is otherwise qualified for the position at issue and is able to perform the essential functions, as opposed to marginal duties, associated with the position and is able to perform such functions with or without a reasonable accommodation. With certain exceptions defined by law, such an employee is entitled to reasonable accommodation.
  3. Essential functions of a position. Western Michigan University's determination as to what constitutes the "essential functions" of a job will be given consideration and a written job description will be considered evidence of the essential functions of a job.
  4. Reasonable accommodation and undue hardship. The ADA provides for reasonable accommodation or change in work environment, without imposing undue hardship upon the University or threatening the safety of coworkers, but which will allow an otherwise qualified individual to perform the essential functions of the position. Undue hardship to the University includes any accommodation which requires significant difficulty or expense. The ADA views reasonable accommodation broadly and provides the following examples of such accommodations:
    • Making existing facilities used by employees readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities.
    • Job restructuring; part-time or modified work schedules; reassignment to a vacant position; acquisition or modification of equipment or devices; appropriate adjustment or modification of examinations, training materials, or policies; the provision of qualified readers or interpreters; and other similar accommodations for individuals with disabilities.

Procedure—requests for accommodation

  1. Employees and job applicants may make a formal request for accommodation by completing the Western Michigan University Request for ADA accommodation which can be obtained from Office of Institutional Equity.
    1. Requests should be completed in full and signed by the employee/applicant.
    2. Requests should be submitted with appropriate medical documentation of disability.
  2. Completed requests should be submitted as follows:
    1. Staff requests must be submitted to the employee's supervisor.
    2. Faculty requests must be presented to the ADA compliance officer per provisions of the current AAUP bargaining unit contract.
    3. Job applicants may submit a request to the assistant vice president for human resources, or the ADA compliance officer/associate vice president for institutional equity, or their designees.
  3. Employees and job applicants may make an informal (oral) request for accommodation to the supervisor or hiring agent in person or by telephone. Supervisors/hiring agents may request physician documentation of the disability.

Resolution—requests for accommodation

  1. All reasonable attempts shall be taken by the supervisor to accommodate the request as soon as practicable under the circumstances.
  2. Supervisors needing assistance in determining or granting staff accommodations should contact the assistant vice president for human resources/designee. The assistant vice president for human resources/designee, with approval of the requester, may utilize the ADA compliance officer and the review committee as resources for determining appropriate accommodations.
  3. Cases resolved at this point will be summarized in writing on the request for ADA accommodation by the supervisor to whom the request was made. Copies will be distributed to the employee/applicant requester, supervisor, and the ADA compliance officer in the Office of Institutional Equity.

Appeals and complaints

Requesters may appeal the decision of the supervisor by submitting a written appeal, signed by the requester, to the ADA compliance officer in the Office of Institutional Equity.

Likewise, all complaints related to the University's policy statement for the handicapped and/or the ADA should be directed to the Office of Institutional Equity.

Human Immunodeficiency Virus

See WMU's Human Immunodeficiency Virus policy.

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