Disability Services Office

Disability accommodation process: manager’s role

Whether you supervise faculty, staff or student employees, UW managers play an instrumental role in the accommodation process. You are often the first person an employee notifies that they might be in need of a disability accommodation.

While you don’t need to be an expert in accommodation, it’s essential for you to be familiar with the University’s disability accommodation policy and know how to respond when an employee brings a concern to your attention. Your openness and support can make a big difference, guiding employees to the right resources when they need them.

Key concept

Reasonable Accommodation: A modification or adjustment made to a work environment, task or procedure that enables an employee with a temporary or ongoing disability to perform the essential functions of their job. Changing “the way things are usually done” in the workplace allows employees with a disability to perform all the essential functions of the job and have an equal opportunity to be successful.

Taking action on employee accommodation requests or questions

When an employee reaches out about accommodations:

  1. Listen attentively and respond with empathy to their concerns.
  2. Do not ask questions about their medical condition or disability.
  3. Share the DSO’s Disability accommodation for employees web page with them via email and copy the applicable accommodation consultant listed below.
  4. Familiarize yourself with the UW‘s disability accommodation process by watching the Manager’s role in disability accommodation on-demand training.

Determining your designated UW accommodation consultant

Team member’s role Assigned UW Accommodation Consultant How to reach them
Academic personnel Disability Services Office (DSO) Email dso@uw.edu or call 206-543-6450
Medical centers staff Your assigned med center’s leave/accommodation specialist Select UW Medicine Human Resources – Leave Management at hr.uw.edu/contact-us/ or call 206-598-6116
UW Facilities staff UW Facilities HR managers https://facilities.uw.edu/partner-resources/about/contacts
All other staff, ASEs, student employees Your department’s UWHR human resources consultant Find your department on HR Contact by Organization

Watch: Disability Accommodation: The Manager’s Role