Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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Who can help me with disability matters?

Your Divisional Disability Representative
The Disability Coordinator/Employment
The ADA Coordinator
The Complaint Investigator

What is a Divisional Disability Representative (DDR)?

  • DDRs are designated by their deans/directors to receive accommodation requests forms from employees and to assist managers, supervisors, and employees in their divisions in responding to disability matters in a way that complies with the ADA.

  • Only DDRs are authorized to request, receive and maintain confidential medical information and records on behalf of employing units in their divisions.

    ADA confidentiality requirements apply to medical information and records for disability, Workers Compensation, Income Continuation Insurance and all medical leave.

  • DDRs are required to consult with the Employee Disability Resources staff before modifying or denying an accommodation request.

  • DDRs have received extensive training on ADA requirements and campus disability policies and procedures.

    The University of Wisconsin-Madison has separate disability accommodation policies and procedures for classified staff, academic staff and faculty.

Who is my Divisional Disability Representative?

What is a reasonable accommodation?

Reasonable accommodation is a modification or adjustment to a job or work environment that permits a qualified applicant or employee with a disability to participate in the job application process, to perform the essential functions of a job, or to enjoy benefits and privileges of employment equal to those enjoyed by employees without disabilities. An employer is required to provide a reasonable accommodation to a qualified applicant or employee with a disability unless the employer can show that the accommodation would be an undue hardship—that means that provididng the reasonable accommodation would result in significant difficulty or expense.

Accommodations vary depending upon the needs of the individual applicant or employee. Not all people with disabilities (or even people with the same disability) will need the same accommodation. Reasonable accommodations are determined on a case-by-case basis as part of an interactive process between the employee, the Divisional Disability Representative (DDR) and others as necessary. Employees can initiate a request for a disability-related workplace accommodation by contacting their DDR. The DDR will review such requests in accordance with the University policy and state and federal disability-related employment laws.

What are my rights and responsibilities?

As an Applicant or Employee, What Are My ADA Responsibilities?

  • Engage in a good faith effort with your DDR, manager or supervisor to identify reasonable accommodations.

  • Submit an accommodation request form to your DDR.

  • Follow procedures in appropriate disability accommodation policies.

  • Provide medical verification and accommodation recommendations from a treating specialist to your DDR when needed.

    Only DDRs are authorized to request, receive and maintain confidential medical information and records on behalf of employing units in their divisions.

    ADA confidentiality requirements apply to medical information and records for disability, Workers’ Compensation and all medical leave.

  • Meet essential performance, behavior and attendance standards after reasonable accommodations are provided.

  • Review accommodations periodically to ensure that they are effective.

As an Applicant or Employee, What Are My ADA Rights?

Applicants and employees can expect managers and supervisors to…

  • Base all employment decisions on the applicant or employee’s ability to perform the essential functions of a position, with or without accommodations.

  • Engage in a good faith effort with the applicant or employee to identify reasonable accommodations.

  • Consult with the DDR to make decisions and respond to accommodation requests in a timely manner.

When Should I Contact My DDR?

  • If you are unsure whether your medical condition (physical or mental) is covered under the ADA.

  • If you have questions about your rights and responsibilities under the ADA.

  • If you need assistance with the accommodation process.

  • If you have concerns about discrimination, harassment or retaliation based on disability or the need for accommodations.

Employees may contact the Disability Coordinator/Employment at 263-2407 (WTRS: 7-1-1) at any time.

What does ADA confidentiality mean to me as an applicant or employee?

What Does ADA Confidentiality Mean to Me as an Applicant or Employee?
The ADA imposes higher confidentiality requirements than previous laws and restricts the degree of access to confidential medical records, histories and information. University policy, procedures and practice were developed in accordance with these higher confidentiality standards.

Confidential Medical Information

  • You may be required to provide confidential medical information to your DDR that allows your employer to:
    • verify a disability
    • determine restrictions and accommodation recommendations related to performance of essential functions of your job
    • verify the need for, timing of and length of a medical leave.

    Note that information provided to managers and supervisors in support of routine use of sick leave is NOT considered a confidential medical record and may be retained by your manager or supervisor.

  • Only Divisional Disability Representatives (DDRs) are authorized to request, receive and maintain confidential medical records for all employing units in their divisions.
  • You may need to submit confidential medical information and documentation to your DDR, not to your manager or supervisor.
  • Confidential medical information may not be maintained in your personnel file.
  • All confidential medical information/documents are covered by the ADA regardless of the source. Information from you or a third party (such as your treating specialist, Workers’ Compensation personnel, Income Continuation Insurance personnel, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation counselors, physical therapists, etc.) should be provided to your DDR only.
  • Typically, our Income Continuation Insurance carrier sends medical documentation to the employing unit. Request that your manager or supervisor ensure this is not maintained in your personnel file and that it is forwarded to your DDR.

Disability Accommodations

  • You may request an accommodation informally by discussing the need for accommodation with your supervisor (See “Informal Procedures to Request Accommodations” in the Classified or Academic Staff Disability Accommodation Policy).
  • You may request an accommodation formally by submitting your confidential Disability Request Form to your DDR.
  • If your manager or supervisor requests confidential medical information or documentation, contact your DDR.
  • Your DDR will coordinate the decision-making process with your manager or supervisor which may include interactive discussions with you to identify reasonable accommodations.
  • Your disability and accommodations are confidential; therefore, your manager or supervisor may not disclose this information to co-workers and staff.
  • If you discuss your disability or accommodations with co-workers and staff, your manager or supervisor’s ability to maintain confidentiality is compromised. If you transfer, are promoted, or are reinstated to a position in a different division or agency, your DDR will not forward information about your disability or any accommodations that were provided. Therefore, if you need accommodations in the new position, you need to advise your new supervisor or manager.

    For clarification or additional information about confidentiality, contact your DDR or the Disability Coordinator/Employment.

What are the UW–Madison policies and procedures related to reasonable accommodation?

How do I request a reasonable accommodation?


The following forms are PDFs that may be filled in Adobe Acrobat. They must be printed and signed for submission.

How can I obtain accessible parking on campus?

How can I receive an ergonomic assessment?

EHS provides ergonomic services free-of-charge to eligible UW–Madison employees to promote health and safety, decrease injury potential and Worker’s Compensation expenses, and increase productivity.

** Most Ergonomics services delivery is virtual during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Complete and submit this form to request an assessment report, virtual assessment session or virtual showroom appointment.  Please check back for updates.

Learn more

What is Family and Medical Leave?

Where can I find a Family and Medical Leave (FMLA) Certification form?

How do I hire a sign language interpreter?

McBurney Disability Resource Center: How A UW Department or Unit Provides Interpreting Services