Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

Contact Information

Lauren Schipper, Associate Director of Absence Management

Shana Feggins, Sr. ADA Program Specialist
716 Columbus Avenue
Boston, MA 02115

Email: HR_ADA@northeastern.edu

Northeastern University is fully committed to creating a community characterized by inclusion and diversity. As part of this commitment, Northeastern upholds the American with Disabilities Act as Amended of 2008 and the American with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of Rehabilitation Act, hereafter referred to collectively as the ADA, and the Massachusetts Pregnant Workers Fairness Act.

The ADA and the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act require Northeastern University to provide reasonable accommodations to faculty, staff, and students with disabilities or a pregnancy-related condition unless doing so would create an undue hardship, compromise the health and safety of members of the university community, or fundamentally alter the nature of the university’s employment mission. Reasonable accommodation will be provided for qualified individuals with disabilities, including chronic illness, or a pregnancy-related condition in a fair and equitable manner, and in accordance with applicable federal and state law. All individuals who are responsible for the implementation of the university’s mission are required to support the university’s commitment.

Students seeking accommodations for their disability in their classroom, residence or for any other University activity should contact the Disability Resource Center (DRC) at (617) 373-2675 or via their website: northeastern.edu/drc.

For more information, review the Northeastern’s policies and procedures regarding the ADA here.

Northeastern University provides reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities or a pregnancy-related condition who require them to safely and effectively perform the essential functions of their positions, or to participate in the employment application process.

When an employee or applicant for employment requests a reasonable accommodation, it is Northeastern University’s responsibility to determine whether they have a disability or a pregnancy-related condition for which an accommodation is required, what constitutes an appropriate accommodation, and whether the accommodation requested is reasonable. The decision is made by appropriate university officials on a case by case basis through the Interactive Process with the individual requesting an accommodation. This process often includes a review of appropriate documentation from the individual’s medical provider. It is the responsibility of the individual requesting the accommodation to provide sufficient information to support the need for the accommodation requested.

Students seeking accommodations in their classroom, residence or for any other University activity should contact the Disability Resource Center (DRC) at (617) 373-2675 or via their website: northeastern.edu/drc.

Under the Massachusetts Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (the “Act”), effective April 1, 2018, employees have the right to be free from discrimination in relation to pregnancy or a condition related to pregnancy, including, but not limited to, lactation or the need to express breast milk for a nursing child.

Massachusetts’ employers are required to provide reasonable workplace accommodations for employees whose ability to perform job duties is limited because of pregnancy or a condition related to pregnancy. A reasonable accommodation allows an employee to perform the essential functions of the employee’s job and does not pose an undue hardship on the employer. Depending on the requested accommodation, an employer may require employees to provide documentation from an appropriate health care professional.

Employees seeking an accommodation due to pregnancy or a condition related to pregnancy should contact the ADA Program Manager at HRM_ADA@northeastern.edu.

For more information, please review the Northeastern’s policies and procedures regarding the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act here.

What is the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)?

The ADA is federal law that prohibits discrimination against a qualified individual on the basis of a disability in regard to job application procedures, the hiring, advancement, or discharge of employees, employee compensation, job training, and other terms, conditions, and privileges of employment.

What does it mean to be a qualified individual with a disability?

A qualified individual with a disability is an employee or applicant with a disability who satisfied the skill, experience, education, and other job-related requirements for the position and who can perform the essential functions of the job with or without reasonable accommodations. This includes part time, full time, probationary, and temporary employees.

What is a reasonable accommodation?

A reasonable accommodation is any modification or adjustment to a job or environment that will enable a qualified applicant or employee with a disability to participate in the application or hiring process or to perform essential job functions. Reasonable accommodations also include adjustments to assure that a qualified individual with a disability has rights and privileges in employment equal to those of employees without disabilities. Northeastern University will provide reasonable accommodations to faculty, staff, and students with disabilities unless doing so would create an undue hardship, compromise the health and safety of members of the university community, or fundamentally alter the nature of the university’s employment mission.

What is an essential function?

Job duties typically, but not exclusively, found on a job description considered so fundamental that the individual cannot do the job without performing them.

What is an undue hardship?

An undue hardship is an action requiring significant difficulty, expense, and disruption, or an action that would fundamentally alter policy and procedures or the nature of the job function.

The following are considered when determining whether an action would be an undue hardship:

  • The nature and cost of the accommodation needed under this chapter;
  • The overall financial resources of the facility or facilities involved in the provision of the reasonable accommodation; the number of persons employed at such facility; the effect on expenses and resources, or the impact otherwise of such accommodation upon the operation of the facility;
  • The overall financial resources of the covered entity; the overall size of the business of a covered entity with respect to the number of its employees; the number, type, and location of its facilities; and
  • The type of operation or operations of the covered entity, including the composition, structure, and functions of the workforce of such entity; the geographic separateness, administrative, or fiscal relationship of the facility or facilities in question to the covered entity.

When is a reasonable accommodation available?

  • When an applicant with a disability needs an accommodation in order to be considered for a job;
  • When an otherwise qualified employee with a disability needs an accommodation to enable him or her to perform the essential functions of the job or to gain access to the workplace; and
  • When an employee with a disability needs an accommodation to access the benefits and privileges of employment.

What is the process for requesting a reasonable accommodation?

Northeastern University uses an interactive process to assess each request for a reasonable accommodation. This process involves university officials working with employees or applicants with a documented disability to identify barriers to performing the essential functions of a particular job or the applicant’s ability to participate in the application process.

Faculty or staff may request a reasonable accommodation by contacting the ADA team in the Absence Management unit of University Human Resources. An employee may also submit a request in Workday by following this request process. 

Students seeking assistance or requesting a reasonable accommodation should contact the Northeastern University Disability Resource Center.

If the accommodation request is approved, a notification letter will be sent to the employee and the immediate leader, who will meet to review and implement the agreed upon accommodation. If the specific accommodation cannot be implemented, the immediate leader and the HR Business Partner or ADA Coordinator will work with the employee to explore alternative accommodations.

If it is determined that the request for accommodation is not reasonable and would create an undue hardship, HRM will inform the employee and provide an explanation as to why the accommodation cannot be provided. HRM may also request more detailed information from the employee to further assess the request.

Can a student request a reasonable accommodation?

Yes, accommodations may be available for students with a disability in their classrooms, residence or other University activities. Students seeking assistance should contact the Northeastern University Disability Resource Center for more information.

Who will see the documentation related to my disability?

Information is released on a need to know basis. This means only the individuals who are making the accommodation will be informed. Your documentation will be kept in a separate file.

What may I do if I am denied a requested accommodation?

If you have questions regarding the outcome of your requested accommodation, you may contact the Associate Director of Absence Management, Lauren Schipper. Contacting the Associate Director does not prohibit an individual from filing a complaint with below agencies.

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
John F. Kennedy Federal Building
475 Government Center
Boston, MA 02203
617.565.3200 or 800.669.4000

The Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination
One Ashburton Place
Boston, MA 02108
617.994.6000

Filing a complaint with HRM does not prohibit an individual from filing a complaint with these agencies

What do I do if I think I have been discriminated against or harassed because of my identified disability?

You should report alleged acts of discrimination or harassment to the Office of University Equity and Compliance.