University of Virginia
Pregnancy Workplace Accommodation Procedures
The University of Virginia (“UVA”) is committed to providing equal opportunity to all qualified faculty and staff members who are pregnant or have a condition arising out of pregnancy, childbirth, or related conditions.
These procedures apply to Academic Division and UVA Medical Center Employees. Applicants for UVA or UVA Health System employment should contact the UVA Office for Equal Opportunity and Civil Rights for additional information. NOTE: If an Employee has a pregnancy-related medical condition that qualifies as a disability, the Employee should consult the UVA’s Procedures for Employees with Disabilities to Request Workplace Accommodations.
I. REASONABLE ACCOMMODATIONS
A reasonable workplace accommodation is a modification or adjustment necessary to enable Qualified Employees who are pregnant or have a pregnancy-related medical condition, to perform the Essential Functions of their job or enjoy equal benefits and privileges of employment. Examples of pregnancy-related workplace accommodations include:
- more frequent or longer bathroom breaks;
- breaks to express breast milk;
- access to a private location other than a bathroom for the expression of breast milk;
- acquisition or modification of equipment or access to or modification of Employee seating;
- a temporary transfer to a less strenuous or hazardous position;
- assistance with manual labor;
- job restructuring;
- a modified work schedule;
- light duty assignments; and
- leave to recover from childbirth.
This is not an exhaustive list. Reasonable accommodations are determined on a case-by-case basis.
UVA is committed to providing accommodations, upon request, to ensure access to employment opportunities, benefits, programs, and services to all Qualified Employees who are pregnant or have pregnancy-related medical conditions. However, pregnancy or a pregnancy-related condition accommodations are not required or permitted when the accommodation would violate other laws or interfere with safety and security or UVA operations.
In addition, while an Employee may have a preferred accommodation, which UVA will seek to implement, UVA is not required to accept the individual’s preferred accommodation if there is more than one reasonable alternative. When there is more than one alternative accommodation, UVA may select any of the accommodations, provided that the accommodation is effective. Approved accommodations do not apply retroactively and Employees are encouraged to engage in the pregnancy accommodation process when the need for the accommodation arises.
II. UVA POLICIES
Failure to provide a reasonable accommodation for pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions, including lactation, may violate the UVA HRM-009: Preventing and Addressing Discrimination and Harassment Policy (“PADH Policy”). The PADH Policy also prohibits discrimination based on pregnancy or pregnancy-related conditions. HRM-041: Policy on Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment and Other Forms of Interpersonal Violence (“Sexual Misconduct Policy”) prohibits harassment on the basis of pregnancy.
The HRM-010: Preventing and Addressing Retaliation Policy prohibits retaliation against Employees who request a pregnancy or pregnancy-related accommodation or submit a good-faith complaint alleging pregnancy discrimination. The Sexual Misconduct Policy prohibits retaliation against an individual who submits a complaint of pregnancy harassment.
Employees who believe that they have been denied a reasonable accommodation for pregnancy, retaliated against for making such a request, or otherwise subjected to pregnancy discrimination, may file a complaint with UVA’s Office for Equal Opportunity and Civil Rights (“EOCR”) in accordance with the Preventing and Addressing Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation (“PADHR”) Complaint Procedures. Employees also may file a complaint with an external agency authorized to accept such complaints or pursue other remedies available to them under state or federal law.
Employees may seek the advice or assistance of the Senior Compliance Director for EOCR or the Associate Vice President for EOCR regarding technical assistance or issues that are not resolved during the accommodation process. Please email UVAEOCR@virginia.edu or call (434) 924- 3200 for assistance.
III. PREGNANCY ACCOMMODATION PROCESS
1. Initiating the Request
Employee: The Employee is responsible for requesting a workplace pregnancy accommodation, in writing (the request may be submitted by email). The written request should include the following information:
- reason for the request, e.g., pregnancy, childbirth, or lactation;
- suggested accommodation; and
- anticipated length of time the accommodation will be necessary.
The request should be submitted to the Employee’s Employee Relations (“ER”) Consultant or their Supervisor. If Employees are uncertain who their ER Consultant is, they can locate that individual in the Employee Relations Directory, or contact their Supervisor or the Senior Compliance Director for EOCR for assistance.
Note: Employees who need assistance due to a disability in submitting a written accommodation request should contact UVA’s ADA Coordinator at ADACoordinator@virginia.edu or (434) 924-3200 for assistance.
2. Responding to an accommodation request
Supervisor: Upon receipt of the request for accommodation, the Supervisor must notify their ER Consultant as soon as possible. The Supervisor also must submit the required written notice of rights to the Employee within 10 calendar days.
Note: UVA must provide a written notice of rights to an Employee who reports a pregnancy within ten (10) days of the pregnancy disclosure. Please visit the UVA HR website for a copy of the notice or contact the ER Consultant for more information.
Employee Relations: If the ER Consultant is notified of the accommodation request first, the ER Consultant will notify the Supervisor as soon as possible. The ER Consultant also will submit the required written notice of rights to the Employee within 10 days.
3. Evaluation of request and the interactive process
Supervisor: The Supervisor, in consultation with the ER Consultant, will promptly evaluate the Employee’s request, taking into account the specific facts of the request, including the Essential Functions of the job, operations, the potential impact on Department/School/Office/Unit operations, and the availability of alternative accommodations. If the requested reasonable accommodation does not constitute an Undue Hardship and the Employee and Supervisor agree upon the most effective reasonable accommodation, the Supervisor may provide the reasonable accommodation without engaging in an extensive interactive process.
- The interactive process. The Supervisor and ER Consultant should begin an interactive process with the Employee when: (1) the specific limitation, problem, or barrier is unclear; (2) an effective reasonable accommodation is not obvious; or (3) the parties are choosing between different reasonable accommodations. The interactive process is a series of communications with the Employee to determine appropriate reasonable accommodations. If the Supervisor believes additional information is necessary to evaluate the request or to clarify limitations, or if subsequent steps are required to process the accommodation request, the Supervisor must contact the ER Consultant for assistance.
- Consideration of alternatives. If, after engaging in the interactive process, the Supervisor believes the request imposes an Undue Hardship, the Supervisor must consider alternative accommodations and discuss the alternatives with the Employee. Undue Hardship must be based on an individualized assessment of current circumstances that show that a specific reasonable accommodation would cause significant difficulty or expense.
In determining whether the accommodation would constitute an Undue Hardship, the Supervisor and ER Consultant should consider: (1) hardship or burden on the School/Department/Unit’s business and operations, considering the nature of the operation, including composition and structure of the workforce, e.g. diminished efficiency of other jobs, an increase in other Employee’s share of potentially hazardous or burdensome work, or infringement on other Employees’ ability to perform their duties, (2) the type of workplace and size of the facility where employment occurs; and (3) the nature and cost of the accommodations needed in relation to the size and operating costs of UVA.
- Required step before denial. If the Supervisor believes the specific requested accommodation is not reasonable, creates an Undue Hardship, or that alternative accommodations are not available, the Supervisor must first consult with the ER Consultant before denying the accommodation. If after consultation, the Supervisor and ER Consultant believe denial of the specific accommodation is appropriate or no alternative accommodations are available, they must consult with the Senior Compliance Director for EOCR or Associate Vice President for EOCR and the Office of University Counsel before denying the request.
- Final decision. The Supervisor, after consultation with the ER Consultant (and EOCR and Office of University Counsel, as necessary), makes the final determination regarding approved accommodations.
- Temporary accommodations. During the interactive process, the Supervisor should consider making modifications on a temporary basis while a permanent accommodation is being considered. In such cases, the Supervisor or ER Consultant should provide regular updates to the Employee regarding the efforts being made to implement a permanent accommodation.
Employee: The Employee is expected to participate in the interactive process, including promptly responding to requests for meetings or additional information from the Supervisor or ER Consultant.
4. Notification of Outcome/Implementation of the accommodation
Supervisor: At the conclusion of the interactive process, the Supervisor will notify the Employee in writing by email of the outcome of the process and the basis for the decision and copy the ER Consultant.
For approved accommodations, the Supervisor (or ER Consultant) will email the Employee and copy the ER Consultant (or the Supervisor if the ER Consultant sends the message) the following information outlining the accommodation and advise the Employee to reply to the message to acknowledge that the information is correct:
- date accommodation was granted;
- anticipated length of accommodation; and
- details regarding the accommodation granted.
The ER Consultant will maintain a copy of the email message.
Employee: The Employee is responsible for promptly notifying their Supervisor or ER Consultant if they believe an accommodation being provided is ineffective.
IV. CONFIDENTIALITY OF RECORDS
All documentation should be maintained separately from general personnel files (either in electronic or hard copy format) and shared only with those who are involved in the accommodation process or when required by law.
V. KEY DEFINITIONS
Employee: An Employee is any UVA full-time or part-time employee, including faculty members and student employees, wage employees, and post-doctoral students being paid by grants.
Employee Relations (“ER”) Consultant: The ER Consultant works in collaboration with Employees, Supervisors, EOCR, and other Human Resources professionals to resolve workplace matters and serve as a strategic partner through interactive processes.
Essential Functions: Essential Functions are fundamental job duties that bear more than a marginal relationship to the job at issue. If the job description contains the Essential Functions of the job including physical, behavioral, and minimal qualification requirements, that description will be considered evidence of the Essential Functions of the job. If the position exists to perform a function, then that function is essential. A function also may be essential if: it requires specialized skills; it requires a significant amount of time; there are significant consequences if the function is not performed; or there are a limited number of Employees to perform the function.
Qualified Employee: A Qualified Employee is an Employee who, with or without reasonable accommodations, can perform the Essential Functions of the job.
Supervisor: For purposes of these procedures, a Supervisor is the person who has authority to undertake or recommend tangible employment decisions (e.g., hiring, firing, and promoting) affecting an Employee.
Undue Hardship: Undue Hardship is a significant burden, difficulty, or expense to UVA. Undue Hardship must be based on an individualized assessment of current circumstances showing that a specific reasonable accommodation would cause such burden, difficulty, or expense. A Supervisor must rely on objective information in making this determination, rather than potential or hypothetical hardship. Undue Hardship cannot be determined solely by the Supervisor.