Employee Accommodations

Portland State University (PSU) strives to have an inclusive work environment, including a welcoming environment for individuals with disabilities. PSU provides accommodations for employees, including faculty, staff, and student employees with disabilities to enable you to successfully perform your duties.

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) ensures equal opportunities for persons with qualifying disabilities in employment. The law allows for reasonable accommodations to be made in the workplace so applicants and employees can effectively perform the essential functions of the position.

Portland State University will make reasonable accommodations for known physical or mental disabilities of an applicant or employee as well as known limitations related to pregnancy, childbirth or a related medical condition, such as lactation, unless the accommodation would cause an undue hardship. Among other possibilities, reasonable accommodations could include:

  • Acquisition or modification of equipment or devices;
  • More frequent or longer break periods or periodic rest;
  • Assistance with manual labor; or
  • Modification of work schedules or job assignments.


Disability Accommodations

PSU’s disability accommodation process is intended to be interactive and collaborative, relying on open communication and active participation between you, your supervisor and PSU’s Human Resources’ (HR) Leaves/Accommodation Team (LAT). The primary goal of this process is to help you to perform all of the essential functions of your current position, with or without accommodation.

Accommodation Process | Confidentiality | Supervisor Responsibilities | Religious Accommodations | Complaint Resolution Process | Report an Accessibility Concern | Additional Resources

Human Resources provides accommodations to student employees who have disabilities and are seeking workplace accommodations. Students and Student employees seeking accommodations for their education, should contact the Disability Resource Center (DRC).

Minor workstation adjustments: For adjustments such as desk height modifications or ergonomic enhancements your supervisor may be able to implement requests without additional assistance from Human Resources LAT. If the department requires assistance from LAT, you may begin the accommodation process.

Job duty modifications: Requests requiring job duty modifications, environmental changes, equipment purchases, or other significant actions requires the assistance of LAT. This includes not only requests for accommodation due to disability, but also family medical leaves, worker compensation injuries or any other leave requiring accommodation.

Disability Accommodation Process

  1. Request an accommodation
  2. A member of LAT will contact you to discuss the next steps
    • LAT may ask you to provide medical documentation* to support your need for accommodation and to help HR understand your condition, capacities, or limitations.

* Do not submit medical statements to your supervisor. This documentation should be sent directly to LAT in HR. At no time do you need to disclose the nature of your disability to your supervisor or other colleagues.

  1. Job analysis*
    • You may be asked to request your healthcare provider to assess your functional limitations in relation to the essential functions of your job. If PSU determines that an independent medical assessment is necessary, PSU will pay for your expense from the examination (i.e. your copay or coinsurance).

* A job analysis assesses the position’s physical and cognitive requirements and identifies essential job functions. Essential functions are the fundamental job duties or requirements of a position that you must be able to perform, with or without accommodation.



  1. Leave of Absence
    • If you are unable to perform the essential functions of your job due to a medical condition, even with a workplace modification, a leave of absence from work may be considered as an accommodation.
    • Leaves of absence may also be necessary while PSU reviews an accommodation request.
  2. Alternative job search/job reassignment
    If PSU determines that it is not possible to accommodate you in your current position, and you can work at least half time or more, the University will attempt to place you in an open PSU position under the following conditions:
    • The position has a comparable or lower salary range or grade as your current position.
    • You meet the position’s minimum qualification and special skill requirements.
    • You are able to perform the position’s essential functions, with or without accommodation.


By law, your medical information must be kept confidential and separate from your employee personnel file. PSU’s Human Resources maintains separate medical files for all employees.

When supervisors engage in the interactive process with HR and the employee, supervisors are not made aware of the nature of an employee’s disability. During the interactive process, supervisors are informed of what accommodations should be provided for the employee to perform the essential functions of their job. Information regarding your request for accommodation or the nature of your disability is not shared with your department or the university.

Supervisor Responsibilities

Contact the Accommodation Team in HR if:

  • An employee tells you about a health problem that could impact their ability to perform their job but does not make a specific accommodation request.
  • You have any questions about the accommodation being requested (such as regarding duration, scope, necessity, workplace impact, or the employee’s ability to perform the position’s essential functions even with accommodation).

Important Information:

  • All responses to requests for accommodation must be documented, even if they are simple or temporary job or workspace modifications. Please contact the LAT team for assistance.
  • If you receive documents containing medical information, immediately forward them on to the Accommodation Team. Do not keep medical records in departmental files.
  • You should not ask the employee for personal medical information or about the disability itself; your focus should be on the workplace modification being requested.
  • If an employee does choose to disclose such information, advise them that you will keep the information confidential, and redirect them to the Accommodation Team if they have questions about accommodation procedures or policies.

Religious Accommodations

Employees are entitled to accommodations for employee religious beliefs or practices, pursuant to PSU's Religious Accommodation Policy. Religious accommodations may include:

  • Days off for religious holiday observance
  • Breaks from work duties for religious observance, such as prayer or rituals
  • Flexible scheduling
  • Wearing head coverings
  • Wearing certain hairstyles or facial hair
  • Wearing certain garments

An employee and their supervisor may work collaboratively to determine a reasonable solution that meets the need of the employee, such as an employee asking for a day off work for religious observance. If the employee and the supervisor are not able to agree on an appropriate solution, or if the employee is requesting a permanent change in schedule, please contact the Leaves/Accommodations team in HR (leaves@pdx.edu) to engage in the interactive process and the Leaves/Accommodation specialist will help determine the reasonable accommodation.

Information on the dates of numerous religious holidays may be found on PSU’s academic calendar.

A request for an accommodation may be denied if it creates an undue hardship to PSU. An accommodation may cause undue hardship if it is costly, compromises workplace safety, decreases workplace efficiency, infringes on the rights of other employees, or requires other employees to do more than their share of potentially hazardous or burdensome work.

    Complaint Resolution Process

    If you are not satisfied with PSU’s response to your accommodation request, speak with your HR consultant or you may file a complaint with Global Diversity & Inclusion (GDI).

    Report an Accessibility Concern

    Portland State University is dedicated to identifying and removing, when possible, barriers to access for students, faculty, staff, and visitors.

    If you have encountered a barrier to physical access at PSU and would like to inform us about it, please contact one of the following offices or fill out this form: Barrier to Physical Access Online Form.

    Facilities and Property Management
    Phone: 503-725-2349
    Email: 2fix@pdx.edu

    Disability Resource Center
    Phone: 503-725-4103
    Email: drc@pdx.edu

    Campus Public Safety
    Available 24/7
    Phone: 503-725-4404
    Email: cpso@pdx.edu

    Additional Resources

    Questions? Need assistance? Contact LAT in HR at leaves@pdx.edu.