Frequently Asked Questions – Employees

+ Who is covered by the reasonable accommodation policy?
  • This process applies to all employees of Boston University.
  • Students seeking accommodation should contact Disability and Access Services at


+ What is an employment reasonable accommodation?
  • Any modification or adjustment in the work environment or processes that provides equal access to the benefits and privileges of employment and enables an individual with a disability to perform the essential functions/assigned duties of their position that they otherwise would not be able to effectively perform without the presence of accommodations.


+ What is considered a disability?
  • According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), an employee with a disability is defined as a person who:
    • Has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities;
    • Has a record of such an impairment; or
    • Is regarded as having such an impairment


+ What is a reasonable accommodation?
  • A reasonable accommodation is any change in the work environment that allows an individual with a disability to enjoy equal employment opportunities.


+ How do I know if I need an accommodation?
  • If you are having difficulty completing your job duties related to your own medical condition or disability, you may submit a Request for Accommodation.
  • Your supervisor, an HR representative, or a staff member from Occupational Health may suggest you apply for an accommodation and refer you to the Equal Opportunity Office.


+ What documentation do I need to provide?
  • Employees will be asked to submit a Request for Accommodation, detailing their request and identifying their supervisor.
  • The EOO will need to receive supporting medical documentation in order to review any request for reasonable accommodation. Upon submission of a request, we will email you the required form, which must be returned within 14 days. You can also access the form ahead of time here: Request for Medical Information for ADA Accommodation


+ What if my medical provider does not complete the form?
  • Depending on the request, the EOO may be unable to complete its review without supporting medical documentation. While you may reopen a request, the EOO will close the review if documentation is not received from your medical provider within 14 calendar days.


+ Why do I need to have an accommodation through EOO? My department already recognizes my need for accommodation.
  • Boston University does not recognize informal agreements as official accommodations. If you are unable to perform the essential functions of your position due to a disability or medical condition, the process housed within EOO is required.


+ What happens after a request is made? (The Interactive Dialogue)
  • When an employee makes a request to our office for reasonable accommodation due to a disability, our office is charged with facilitating the interactive dialogue between the employee and their supervisor.
  • The interactive dialogue is designed to explore accommodations that will allow an employee to complete the essential functions of their position.
  • Our office does not have the authority or knowledge to determine how an accommodation would impact a college or department, or to make decisions about appropriate accommodations independent of the employee’s college or department.
  • After our office reviews the employee’s request, we work with the employee and the employee’s school/college (or administrative unit) to determine whether or not potential accommodations are reasonable and ask for the school/college’s (or administrative unit’s) approval.
  • Our office shares the decision of the school/college (or administrative unit) to approve or not approve a proposed accommodation and the interactive dialogue may continue or conclude depending on the outcome of the conversations with the employee and school/college (or administrative unit).


+ What if I need Medical Leave?
  • You would apply for leave through Matrix Absence Management, which manages this process for BU Human Resources. Please use this link: How to Access Benefits for the information you need. If you have questions regarding leaves, contact the HR Service Center at or 617-353-2380.
  • If you have exhausted your PFML/FMLA, or are ineligible for PFML/FMLA, then you may seek medical leave as an accommodation.


+ What if I’m not sure if I need an accommodation?


+ Will I be paid if I miss time from work?
  • Any questions about your compensation should be directed to your HR Business Partner or the HR Service Center at or 617-353-2380.


+ Will my medical information be shared?
  • Information is shared on a need-to-know basis. Only the individuals working on your accommodation request will have access to your medical information.
  • For confidentiality reasons, employees should not share any medical information with their supervisors.
  • The discussion with your supervisor will center around your limitations as confirmed by your medical provider, and the EOO will not share information regarding your disability or medical condition with your supervisor.


+ What do I do if I no longer need my accommodation(s)?
  • If you would like to make any changes to your accommodation, contact EOO directly at
+ I am a caregiver for a family member with a disability. Can I request a reasonable accommodation?
  • No. Caregivers of individuals with disabilities are not entitled to receive workplace reasonable accommodations under the ADA. For leave options related to caring for a family member, contact HR.