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Williams College Employee Handbook

Faculty Handbook . | . Administrative Staff Handbook . | . Support Staff Handbook

Disability Policy

Both Federal and state law prohibit employers from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities and require employers to provide reasonable accommodations to such individuals when needed so that they may perform the essential job duties of the position.  

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

The College will reasonably accommodate qualified individuals with a disability so that they can perform the essential functions of a job, unless doing so creates an undue hardship on business operations and/or the individual poses a direct threat of substantial harm to him/herself or others in the workplace even with a reasonable accommodation.  When an individual with a disability requests accommodation and can be reasonably accommodated without creating an undue hardship or causing a direct threat to workplace safety, he or she will be given the same consideration for employment as any other applicant or employee.

All employees are required to comply with the College's safety standards. Current employees who pose a direct threat to the health and/or safety of themselves or other individuals in the workplace will be placed on appropriate leave until an organizational decision has been made in regard to the employees' immediate employment situation.


Terms Used in the Policy

Direct threat means a significant risk to the health, safety or well-being of individuals with disabilities or others when this risk cannot be eliminated by reasonable accommodation.

Disability means a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits the individual’s ability to perform one or more major life activities.  Federal and state laws prohibit discrimination against not only persons who currently have a disability, but also persons who have a history of being disabled or are regarded as being disabled.  

Essential functions of the job refer to those job activities that are determined by the College to be essential or core to performing the job.  Modifying or eliminating one or more essential functions of a job is not a reasonable accommodation.

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, working and the operation of a major bodily function (such as functions of the immune system, special sense organs and skin, normal cell growth, and digestive, genitourinary, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, cardiovascular, endocrine, hemic, lymphatic, musculoskeletal, and reproductive functions).

Qualified individual means an individual who satisfies the skill, experience and other job-related requirements of the employment position that such individual holds or desires and who, with or without reasonable accommodation, can perform the essential functions of the job.

Reasonable accommodation means changes to the work environment that will allow a qualified disabled person to perform the essential functions of the job and will not impose an “undue hardship” on the employer.  Depending on the circumstances, such accommodations may include, for example, making existing facilities readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities, part-time or modified work schedules, telecommuting, reassignment to a vacant position, or the acquisition or modification of equipment or devices.

Undue hardship means significant difficulty or expense on the part of the employer.  


The Office of Human Resources is responsible for implementing this policy, including resolution of reasonable accommodation, safety/direct threat and undue hardship issues.  Applicants or employees with disability-related concerns can contact the Office of the Vice President of Institutional Diversity and Equity or the Office of Human Resources.

Updated: March 2012

Faculty Handbook . | . Administrative Staff Handbook . | . Support Staff Handbook