University of California, Riverside

Human Resources



Individuals with Disabilities Toolkits


Supervisor Resources and Guidelines for Creating and Maintaining a
Friendly Work Environment for Individuals with Disabilities

The Current Situation

Today, there are over 54 / 33 million Individuals with Disabilities in the United States, of which only 18 million (55%) are employed. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 was created to help individuals with disabilities integrate into all aspects of life, particularly the workplace. There is currently a substantial disparity in the employment rate of individuals with disabilities, despite all of the technological advancements that have assisted individuals with disabilities to perform various jobs.

The new OFCCP regulation states that employers must make a good faith effort to employ more individuals with disabilities. As a UCR supervisor it is important to recognize that individuals with disabilities are:

  • Loyal, dedicated, reliable
  • Have lower than average absenteeism
  • The third largest community

Federal and State Disability Laws

The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 — The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 was the first “civil rights” legislation to prohibit discrimination against people with disabilities.

On September 24, 2013, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs published a Final Rule in the Federal Register that makes changes to the regulations implementing Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (Section 503) at 41 CFR Part 60-741. Section 503 prohibits federal contractors and subcontractors from discriminating in employment against individuals with disabilities (IWDs), and requires these employers to take affirmative action to recruit, hire, promote, and retain these individuals. The new rule strengthens the affirmative action provisions of the regulations to aid contractors in their efforts to recruit and hire IWDs, and improve job opportunities for individuals with disabilities. The new rule also makes changes to the nondiscrimination provisions of the regulations to bring them into compliance with the ADA Amendments Act of 2008.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) 1990 (amended in 2008) — The ADA states that a covered entity shall not discriminate against a qualified Individual with a Disability. This applies to job application procedures, hiring, advancement and discharge of employees, workers’ compensation, job training, and other terms, conditions, and privileges of employment. Covered entity can refer to an employment agency, labor organization, or joint labor-management committee, and is generally an employer engaged in interstate commerce and having 15 or more workers.

California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) — The FEHA is the principal California statue prohibiting employment discrimination covering employers, labor organizations, employment agencies, apprenticeship programs and any person or entity who aids, abets, incites, compels or coerces the doing of a discriminatory act. It prohibits employment discrimination based on a number of factors.

Types of Disabilities

A disability is a physical or mental condition which limits a major life activity.

  • Mental disabilities may include:
    •  Emotional or mental illness
    •  Intellectual or cognitive disability
    •  Organic brain syndrome
    •  Specific learning disabilities
    • Autism spectrum disorders
    • Schizophrenia
    • Chronic or episodic conditions such as clinical depression, bipolar disorder, PTSD and OCD
  • Physical disabilities may include:
    • Anatomical loss, cosmetic disfigurement, physiological disease, a disorder or condition that does both of the following:
      • Affects one or more of the bodily systems
      • Limits a major life activity

A disability can also be a medical condition, such as cancer, that may or may not limit a life activity. Disability status is also given to individuals regarded as presently disabled or who may become disabled; individuals with a history of a disability; individuals who associate with persons who are disabled or perceived to be disabled.

The Interactive Process

The interactive process is an ongoing dialogue between the employer and employee (or applicant) conducted in good faith, regarding how the employee (or applicant) is limited in his ability to perform the essential functions of his/her position and what, if any, reasonable accommodation could enable him/her to perform those essential functions.

If no reasonable accommodation could enable a current employee to perform the essential functions of the current position, the IP then includes an exploration of whether there are alternative positions that are open for which the employee is qualified.

The interactive process begins when:

  • The applicant / employee requests a reasonable accommodation
  • The employer
    • Learns about the disability
    • Knows or has reason to know that the employee is experiencing workplace difficulties because of a disability
    • Knows or has reason to know that the disability prevents the employee from requesting accommodations
    •  Learns or becomes aware of the need for accommodation from a third party
    • Learns that the employee needs more leave after having exhausted FML or other leaves entitlement under policies on collective bargaining agreements.

Disability Etiquette

  • Ask before you help
  • Be sensitive about physical contact
  • Communicate directly with the person with a disability
  • Respect personal space
  • Don’t make assumptions / question your assumptions
  • Respond graciously to requests
  • Exercise patience
  • Put the person first, not the disability
  • “person with disability” not “disabled person”
  • When you see, meet or think about an individual with a disability, presume competence

Keep in mind that knowing how to react appropriately in every situation requires time and practice. As with all other etiquette issues, when mistakes are made, apologize, correct the problem, learn from the mistake, move on – do not be discouraged, and above all, keep trying!

Practicing disability etiquette is an easy way to make individuals with disabilities feel welcome.

Supervisor Guidelines

Ways to become more disability friendly as a supervisor:

  • Communicate openly with your employee
  • Go through the interactive process to assure that your employee has everything they need
  • Implement any necessary changes to your employee’s work station and/or job duties
  • Educate your department: Refer to the Supervisor Resources and Guidelines PowerPoint on the HR website
  • Apply the disability etiquette

Helpful Resources

Refer an individual with disabilities, or family to the campus points of contact. Help individuals with disabilities and their families get connected with the UCR campus programs.

  • Support Networking: Encourage participation in the UCR Individuals with Disabilities and Families Group.
  • Individuals with Disabilities Mentoring Program: Two phase program designed for both IWD employees and their supervisors.
  • Equipment Loans and Access Orientation: Suzanne Trotta, (951) 827-5382
  • Learning, Neurological, or Psychological Accommodations (students): Jennifer Hughey, MS, MFTi, Learning, Neurological, Psychological Disability Specialist, (951) 827-4538
  • Job Related Accommodations: Marsha Marion, Workplace Health & Wellness Manager, (951) 827-4785
  • All Other School-Related Accommodations (students): Glyn Wild, Disability Specialist,  (951) 827-4538
  • Student Affairs Case Manager (Social Worker): Jeremiah Dieujuste, (951) 827-9354
  • Mobility Services (rides & parking): UCR Mobility Transport
  • Medical Parking Permits: Transportation and Parking Services, (951) 827-8277
  • Human Resources — Staff Employment and Development: Kai Buckner, Senior Employment Analyst, (951) 827-1951

Transitioning back to work

Printable Toolkit

More Information

General Campus Information

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900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

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Department Information

Human Resources
1201 University Ave., Suite 208
Riverside, CA 92507

Tel: (951) 827-5588
Fax: (951) 827-2672

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