Frequently Asked Questions – Supervisors

+ 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 can I recognize a request for accommodation?
  • Employees may request accommodation in different ways with different language. If an employee requests an adjustment to their schedule or workspace, they may be requesting an accommodation. An employee may say they need time off for surgery or treatment for their own medical condition.
  • Once you receive information suggesting an accommodation may be needed, please refer the employee using the Accommodation Referral Form. If you are unsure, please contact the Equal Opportunity Office at


+ The employee requested an accommodation and I already approved it. Why is EOO involved?
  • Boston University does not recognize modifications or informal agreements as reasonable accommodations. If an employee is unable to perform essential functions of their position due to a disability or medical condition, the process housed within EOO is required. Please refer the employee to EOO.


+ Can I request a doctor’s note or medical information from my employee?
  • No. It is the responsibility of EOO to obtain and review any medical information supporting their request for accommodation.


+ What do I do if an employee contacts me about an accommodation request?


+ When can an accommodation be requested?
  • There is no set time period. An employee or applicant for employment can request an accommodation at any time.


+ 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).


+ My employee is a caregiver for a family member with a disability. Can they 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.