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Reasonable Accommodation

California State University San Marcos is committed to providing a diverse and supportive academic and work environment that facilitates learning, teaching, working, and conducting research for all students, employees, and visitors. We are dedicated to providing an inclusive working environment where all individuals are treated with dignity and respect.

In alignment with these values and in compliance with Executive Order 1111 qualified individuals with a disability shall be provided a reasonable accommodation in order to perform the essential functions of their job.

When an employee or applicant for employment requests a reasonable accommodation so that they may safely and effectively perform the essential functions of their position or participate in the employment application process, their request will be considered in accordance with the CSUSM Procedure for Requesting a Reasonable Accommodation. It is the responsibility of the individual requesting an accommodation to provide sufficient information, upon request, to support the need for the accommodation requested. 

Request for Accommodation
If you have a disability or become disabled, and you need an accommodation in the workplace, submit a Request for Accommodation and Medical Certification.



The Office of Human Resources will review your request and medical certification and, in most cases, will engage you and your appropriate administrator in an “interactive process” to discuss possible workplace accommodations. A workplace accommodation is a modification or adjustment to a job, the work environment, or the way in which a job is usually done that enables an individual with a disability, who is otherwise qualified to perform a job, to attain the same level of performance and to enjoy the same benefits and privileges of employment.

The process for requesting and obtaining an employment accommodation is governed by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as amended, and California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA).

Please make all requests early. This process may take several weeks to complete, depending on how soon we receive your information and the necessary documentation from your physician. Please note that all accommodations are individualized based on your disability and the nature of your job. Human Resources (HR) or Faculty Affairs (FA)-approved accommodations are reached in consultation with both the employee and the appropriate administrator in their department. We will make every effort to provide a reasonable accommodation for individuals with qualified disabilities; however, it is not always possible for the university to accommodate the employee’s preferred accommodation, and in some cases the university is unable to accommodate an employee’s medical restrictions and functional limitations.

  • How to Request an Employment Accommodation

     Step 1:

    Review the sample Employee Accommodation Request Forms:
    SAMPLE - Employee Accommodation Request Form or
    SAMPLE - Emloyee Accommodation Request Form - for use of an Assistance Animal 
    As well as 
    the Medical Certification which is to be completed by your doctor.

    Your physician/medical provider should review your position description in order to determine with you which essential functions of your job need accommodating.  To obtain a copy of your position description please consult with your manager.  For Faculty members, please reference CFA Collective Bargaining Agreement, Article 20 (Workload).

    The Medical Certification should describe the nature of your disability (temporary or permanent), details of your functional limitations or work restrictions, and suggestions for potential reasonable accommodations at the workplace. Please ask your provider not to disclose your medical diagnosis. (HR requires your provider to answer all questions contained in this form, either on the form itself or on other paperwork.)

    Step 2:

    Complete and Submit the appropriate Employee Accommodation Request Form.  You may attach your medical certification completed by your doctor, the medical certification may also be faxed directly to our office at 833-536-1793.

    Accommodation Request Form 

    Step 3:

    Upon receipt of all completed documents, HR will evaluate whether you are a “qualified individual with a covered disability.” If so, HR/FA will review how the accommodation request relates to the essential functions of your job, consulting with the appropriate administrator as necessary. When consulting with your administrator, HR will share only the information necessary to understand the request.

    Step 4:

    Participate in the interactive process.  In most cases, HR will initiate the interactive process by scheduling a meeting with you to discuss the details of your request.  This will be followed with communication to your appropriate administrator to discuss your functional limitations or work restrictions, the essential functions of your position, and possible accommodations.

    Step 5:

    CSUSM will evaluate the reasonableness of the requested accommodation(s).  If HR/FA and the department determine that an employee-requested accommodation is reasonable, it shall be implemented as soon as possible and an approval letter will be issued. If the proposed accommodation(s) is unreasonable or presents undue hardship, HR/FA will notify the employee and try to arrive at a mutually agreeable alternative to the proposed accommodation.

  • What is a Reasonable Accommodation?

    Reasonable Accommodation is any adjustment to a work environment or job that allows an employee (i.e., staff, faculty, student employee) to perform the essential functions of the job in question. The purpose of an accommodation is to enable the employee to perform the essential functions of the job. Accommodation options that can be explored include, but are not limited to:

    1. Making existing facilities used by employees readily accessible to and usable by the disabled employee;
    2. Modifying work schedules;
    3. Acquiring or modifying equipment or devices;
    4. Providing qualified readers or interpreters.

    Other options, such as a leave of absence or reduced schedule, may be available and should be evaluated in light of what is permitted under policy and contract.

    In evaluating the reasonableness of an accommodation, HR/FA and the appropriate administrator will: 

    1. Take the employee's expressed preferences into consideration.
    2. Evaluate whether the employee can perform the job safely.
    3. Assess the effectiveness of the accommodation(s) in enabling the employee to perform the essential functions of the job.
    4. Assess the operational needs of the department, considering issues such as:
      1. The number of persons employed in the department;
      2. The number, type and locations of the units within the department;
      3. The type of operation, including the composition, structure, and functions of its workforce, its geographic separateness, and the administrative relationship of the department to the campus;
      4. The impact of the accommodation on the operation of the department, including the impact on the ability of other employees to perform their duties and the impact on the department's ability to conduct business;
      5. The nature of the accommodation;
      6. The overall financial resources of the campus;
      7. The impact of the accommodation on campus operations.

    If a Department, in conjunction with HR/FA, determines that an employee-requested accommodation is reasonable, the accommodation should be implemented as soon as possible. It is important to understand that engaging in the Interactive Process and deciding on a Reasonable Accommodation(s) is an on-going process. What may be an appropriate accommodation at one point in time may need to be reassessed if:

    1. The original accommodation was a "transitional accommodation," that is it was intended for a specifically defined purpose and time period has elapsed;
    2. The position duties change;
    3. The environment changes;
    4. The employee indicates that a new accommodation may be necessary; and/or
    5. Other factors suggest that a new accommodation is needed and it is time to re-initiate the interactive process.
  • Managers and Supervisors

    The Interactive Process can begin in a number of ways. However, unless the disability or the need for accommodation is obvious, it is the responsibility of the employee to inform the supervisor that an accommodation is needed in order to perform the essential job functions, or to receive equal benefits and privileges of employment. The employee does not have to formally notify the supervisor or department in writing. A verbal request for accommodation should be considered to trigger the interactive process. When the disability or the need for accommodation is obvious, the supervisor should inquire whether the employee has a need for assistance.

    An employee should not be asked whether they have a disability or any other question about their medical condition. However, in keeping with the spirit of the interactive process, an employee who is struggling to adequately perform should be asked if there is any type of assistance that might enable the employee to better perform their job functions. 

    If the employee requests a workplace adjustment that the supervisor could and would make without there being a medical basis, such as ergonomic equipment or a standing desk, or rest breaks at precise times, the supervisor may simply provide such an adjustment without reference to whether the request is disability-related. Or, the supervisor may ask if the assistance is being requested as an accommodation to a disability, and if the response is affirmative, proceed with procedures for accommodating employees with disabilities.

  • FAQs
    • How is disability defined?

      An individual is considered to be disabled if:

      • There is a permanent physical or mental impairment that limits the performance of one or more major life activities;
      • There is a record of such an impairment; or
      • The individual is regarded as having such an impairment.
    • What is a major life activity?
      Major life activities are functions such as caring for one's self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working. Major life activity also includes the operation of a major bodily function, including but not limited to, functions of the immune system, normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, and reproductive functions. With regard to reasonable accommodation, primary attention is given to those life activities that affect the ability to perform one’s essential job functions, or otherwise present a barrier to employment or advancement.
    • What is an essential function?
      Essential function means the fundamental job duties of the employment position. For example, for a position as a proofreader, the ability to read documents accurately (with or without a reasonable accommodation) is an essential function because that is the reason the position exists. Additionally, a job function may be essential because of the limited number of employees available to perform the function, or among whom the function can be distributed.
    • What is a functional limitation?
      A functional limitation is the inability to perform an action or a set of actions because of a physical or mental restriction. Determining whether a functional limitation exists due to a physical or mental disability or medical condition is the first step in establishing whether an individual is entitled to a reasonable accommodation.
    • What is the interactive process?
      The Interactive Process is the way in which employees, supervisors, and their departments arrive at a reasonable accommodation. The law requires that the employer and the employee engage in a timely, good faith communication process to identify what the employee’s limitations are as related to the essential job functions and consider what reasonable accommodations exist which may effectively enable the employee to complete the essential functions of the job. Both the employer and the employee participate in the interactive process.
    • How does the interactive process work?

      If a disability prevents an employee from performing one or more essential job functions, the Department and the employee, in consultation with HR (and Faculty Affairs for academic employees), should begin the interactive process.  The interactive process is continued dialogue in efforts to identify a workable solution. 

      • Evaluating the employee's functional abilities and limitations
      • Analyzing the job requirements
      • Exploring options available for an accommodation
    • How is confidentiality maintained?
      Upon receipt of the Employee Accommodation Request Form and Medical Certification, HR creates a confidential file. Your employee accommodation file is separate from official personnel/HR files. You are not required to provide supervisors, managers, or department heads/chairs with any specific information pertaining to your disability. However, your appropriate administrator will be informed of the minimum amount of information necessary in order to engage in the interactive process and discussions about your functional limitations and how possible accommodations may be effective for the department. If an accommodation is approved, you and the department will be provided with a copy of the accommodation letter.
    • What if my medical condition or functional limitations change?
      If a granted accommodation is not effective or the limitations change necessitating a different accommodation, the employee shall inform Human Resources which would then continue the interactive process.

  • Additional Resources
    • Disability Leaves:  You may qualify for family medical leave to care for yourself or a family member with a serious medical condition.
    • Disabled Parking at CSUSM:  A valid campus parking permit and a valid disabled placard or license plate is required to utilize ADA spaces on campus. 
    • Job Accommodation Network (JAN):  The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) is the leading source of free, expert, and confidential guidance on workplace accommodation and disability employment issues.
    • Important Terminology 
  • Forms

Applicants for Employment

An applicant for a non-faculty position who requires an accommodation during the application process should contact the Office of Human Resources at (760) 750-4418 or

An applicant for a faculty position who requires accommodation during the application process should contact the Office of Faculty Affairs at (760) 750-4052 or


If you are a student in need of a reasonable accommodation, please contact the office of Disability Support Services (DSS). DSS is committed to providing opportunities for higher education to students with disabilities and to making the programs, activities, and facilities at CSUSM fully accessible.

For More Information