When an employee becomes unable to perform essential, assigned duties of a position as a result of a disability or medical condition, the campus is committed to providing services to assist the employee, including efforts at reasonable accommodation (see Chapter 18, Disability Management). If accommodation efforts are unsuccessful, the employee may be medically separated.
Before you begin the medical separation process, discuss these questions with your Employee Relations Consultant:
- Under which set of personnel policies or contract does the employee work? Does it contain a provision for medical separation?
- Is the employee off work? If so, for how long?
- Is the employee receiving Extended Sick Leave benefits?
- What has been your department's past practice regarding leaves of absence for any reason (including the Family and Medical Leave Act)?
- Is the employee currently working on a modified assignment? If so, why can't it continue?
- What does the latest written information from the employee's physician or medical practitioner indicate about the employee's ability to return to, or remain at, work?
- Does the employee meet the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) definition of a person with a disability?
- What is the department's business necessity to have the position filled permanently at this time?
If you believe medical separation is appropriate after you have considered the above questions:
- Complete the request for Review for Medical Separation of Employee form located in the Berkeley Campus Rehabilitation /Medical Separation procedures. Attach all pertinent documents (correspondence with the employee regarding absences for medical reasons or requests for medical information; written statements from the employee's physician; a job description with essential functions identified). Send this to your Employee Relations Consultant, who will review it and forward it to the Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor.
- Review any additional accommodations made by the Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor and implement them if possible.
- Provide a written response to the Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor if accommodations are recommended but not implemented.
- If the Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor concludes that no additional accommodations can be recommended, and the Employee Relations Consultant agrees that medical separation is appropriate, the review form will be returned to you with an approval to proceed.
The campus procedures include guidelines for issuing a notice and samples of an Intent to Medically Separate letter and a final decision letter. Your Employee Relations Consultant can help you with this process.