HR Operations

Disability separation

Last updated: October 25, 2023

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.

When accommodation efforts have not been successful

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 terminated from University employment through the disability separation process. Disability separation is not a disciplinary action, but recognizes that continued University employment is not possible.

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 accommodation efforts that the University has made and summarizing the information the University has been provided regarding the employee’s ability to perform their job functions. 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 is facing disability separation by ensuring that the employee is aware of the WA Employee Assistance Program. Make sure that your employee has contacted the Integrated Service Center for assistance with insurance coverage and retirement plans.

Direct any questions about disability accommodation and disability separation to your unit’s HR consultant, or the Disability Services Office.