New York State Higher Education Services Corporation Policy for Reasonable Accommodation in Programs and Services for Individuals with Disabilities or Pregnancy-Related Conditions
The State of New York is committed to assuring equal opportunity for persons with disabilities or pregnancy-related conditions. It is the New York State Higher Education Services Corporation’s (HESC) policy to provide reasonable accommodations in all its programs and services. This policy is based on the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, Title II and all applicable federal regulations thereunder. HESC strives to provide:
- Physical accessibility at government facilities, programs and events;
- Policies, procedures, and accommodations to ensure that all people can partake in, and benefit from, HESC programs and services; and
- Necessary auxiliary aids and services to ensure effective communication to all people.
Public Access to Information on Reasonable AccommodationHESC’s Notice Under the Americans With Disabilities Act is posted on the HESC website. Programs and business units should refer to the posted policy when discussing reasonable accommodation needs with members of the public. Paper copies of the policy are available by contacting the CDO. Reference to the policy may also be appropriate in solicitations, bids, training opportunities, special event information, or other programs in which members of the public may be interacting with HESC or visiting HESC facilities. Programs and business units shall consult with the CDO regarding meeting their individual posting requirements.
HESC’s Grievance Procedures under the Americans With Disabilities Act for Programs and Services is available on the HESC website and shall be provided to anyone inquiring or complaining about accommodations of disabilities or pregnancy-related conditions in HESC programs or services.
Requests for AccommodationWhenever an individual with a disability or pregnancy-related condition requests reasonable accommodation with regard to HESC programs or services, the accommodation should be provided whenever there is no issue of undue burden or direct threat posed by the individual seeking the accommodation. An undue burden is any action that would result in a fundamental alteration in the nature of a service, program, or activity or is an undue financial or administrative burden on the operations of HESC. A direct threat is any action that would result in a direct threat to the health or safety of others that cannot be eliminated by a modification of policies, practices, or procedures, or by the provision of auxiliary aids or services for the individual requesting the accommodation.
Whenever a requested accommodation cannot be immediately granted, the CDO shall contact the individual requesting the accommodation and shall make a bona fide effort to reach a solution consistent with applicable legal standards. The CDO shall consult with HESC Offices of Counsel and Finance when applicable. When an accommodation cannot be granted as requested, the CDO shall ensure that the individual is aware of HESC’s formal grievance procedures.
Grievance ProceduresAny individual who is unsatisfied with HESC’s response to his or her needs as a person with a disability or pregnancy-related condition, including one who is unsatisfied with the accommodation provided or who had his or her request for an accommodation denied, is entitled to file a formal written complaint with the CDO. Alternatives to this written filing requirement may be made available when necessary.
Within 15 calendar days of the receipt of the complaint, the CDO or his or her designee shall meet with the individual to discuss the complaint and potential resolutions. Within 15 calendar days of the meeting with the individual, the CDO shall provide a written decision, where appropriate, in a format accessible to the requester setting forth the position of HESC, options for substantive resolution of the complaint, and information on how to appeal any adverse decision.
If the individual wishes to appeal the decision, he or she shall file an appeal with the head of HESC or his or her designee within 15 calendar days of the adverse decision. The head of HESC shall respond to the appeal with 15 calendar days of receipt, with the agency’s final resolution of the complaint, or indicating that the matter has been returned to the CDO for further action. If further action is needed, the CDO shall contact the individual within 15 calendar days of the agency’s decision.
Individuals seeking a reasonable accommodation may have other recourse available to them through State or federal oversight agencies or through private actions in lieu of or in conjunction with these grievance procedures. Many such processes and procedures have a specific time limit for filing such actions. The individual should consult with a legal representative regarding his or her options.