Services for Faculty & Staff with Disabilities

The University of Pennsylvania has equal opportunity and affirmative action programs for faculty and staff with disabilities. The Office oversees these programs and the provision of reasonable accommodations for faculty and staff as well as guests and visitors. Students with disabilities or applications for admission to the University should contact the Office of Student Disability Services for information or assistance regarding resources and services available.

Federal law defines a disability as any physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; or having a record of such an impairment; or being regarded as having such impairment. A "qualified individual with a disability" is a person as defined above who is capable of performing the essential functions of a particular job or of participating in a particular course of study with or without reasonable accommodations.

The University provides reasonable accommodations for qualified faculty and staff with disabilities to allow them to perform the essential functions of their jobs. Determinations regarding what constitutes a reasonable accommodation are made on a case-by-case basis. Examples of reasonable accommodations may include: making programs and activities readily accessible to and usable by individuals with mobility other disabilities; modifying equipment or devices to allow people with disabilities to use them such as providing amplification for a telephone; modifying a work schedule; restructuring job responsibilities or reallocating non-essential (marginal) job functions; or providing printed materials in an alternative format that is accessible to individuals with visual impairments. Questions regarding reasonable accommodations may be directed to the Office of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity Programs.

Requesting Workplace Accommodations

Faculty and staff who seek reasonable accommodations should contact the Office of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity Programs. Employees must complete the Reasonable Accommodation Request Form and have their medical provider complete the Reasonable Accommodation Medical Authorization Form. The requests and medical information provided with be treated as sensitive and confidential and will only be shared as necessary with those who have a need to know in order to provide the reasonable accommodation. Students who would like assistance related to their work-study or other employment at the University should also contact the Office of Student Disabilities Services, Learning Resources Center at (215) 573-9235.

When determining whether a request for an accommodation is reasonable, the factors that are considered are whether the individual can fulfill the essential functions of the position with or without an accommodation and whether the provision of the accommodation would be an undue hardship for the University. The University does not provide accommodations that are deemed to be personal in nature (for example, wheelchairs, eyeglasses or personal care attendants.)

The Penn Access Transportation (PAT)

Penn Access Transportation (PAT) is operated by the Department of Transportation and Parking and is available to members of the University's community with mobility and visual disabilities. For additional information, please see the Procedure for Penn Access Transit (Handi-Van and Parking Accommodation). The Office of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity Programs authorizes the use of PAT by faculty, staff and visitors to the campus. Faculty and Staff must complete the Penn Access Transit Request Form and may be required to provide medical documentation to support the request (Penn Access Transit Medical Authorization Form). Requests may be e-mailed (oaaeop@upenn.edu) or faxed (215) 746-7088 to the office. If request for the Penn Access Transit is granted, please follow these guidelines.

Funding for Accommodations

If request for a reasonable accommodation is granted, the department is responsible for funding the accommodation. If the cost is beyond the department's capacity to support, the department should contact the dean or vice president responsible for their school or division to secure funding

Penn Access (Campus Maps)

PennAccess is a resource maintained by the Division of Facilities and Real Estate Services to provide information on the accessible features of campus buildings and grounds. For further information, visit the PennAccess.