HR Operations

Disability separation

The University of Washington provides reasonable accommodation to employees with a disability as defined under state and federal law — see our disability accommodation request process for details.

After accommodation attempts

If an employee with a disability cannot perform the essential functions of their position even after reasonable accommodation has been attempted or if the employee’s condition is such that disability accommodation is not possible, then the employee may be separated from University employment. Disability separation is not a disciplinary action, but recognizes that continued University employment is not possible. Understandably, disability separation can present many challenges for employees.

Before initiating a disability separation, work with your unit’s HR consultant on attempts to accommodate the employee and to manage leave. If disability separation becomes necessary, your HR consultant will advise you on the process that needs to be followed. Typically, this process will involve documenting the efforts of accommodation that the University has made and summarizing the medical information the University has regarding the employee’s condition. This information is compiled and prepared for appointing authority review as part of the disability separation recommendation.

Providing support

You can help an employee who may face disability separation by ensuring that the employee is aware of UW CareLink, the UW’s employee assistance program. Make sure that your employee has contacted Benefits for assistance with insurance coverage and retirement plans.

Depending on the circumstances, shared leave may be an option that would help your employee.

Direct any questions about disability accommodation and disability separation to your unit’s HR consultant.