Disability Grievances

It is recommended but not required that students, staff, faculty, applicants, and student applicants first express their concerns to their supervisor, department chair, dean, or program coordinator. As a result of these discussions, including the development of strategies for empowering the individual to deal with the situation him/herself or having the person who has received the grievance take it under review, a satisfactory resolution may be readily found.

Union employees initiate a disability grievance with the director of labor relations.

Individuals covered

Employees and applicants for employment

Policy

Northwestern University ensures that no qualified employee or applicant for employment is denied the benefits of employment on account of disability if the individual can perform the essential functions of the position with reasonable accommodation.

Formal procedures

An employee or applicant who wishes to file a formal grievance may do so in writing to the director of the Office of Equal Opportunity and Access. If the subject of the grievance is the director of the Office of Equal Opportunity and Access, or any office he or she supervises or manages, the grievances will be investigated by an impartial University official. All other grievances will be investigated and reviewed by the director of the Office of Equal Opportunity and Access.

The purpose of the review is to determine whether University policy and applicable federal and local laws have been followed and, if not, to address the consequences and take corrective action. Information relevant to the matter may be requested from the involved parties. The director of the Office of Equal Opportunity and Access promptly undertakes an investigation and may use conflict resolution as a strategy. The director provides a response to the employee or applicant upon completion of the review.

An employee or applicant who makes use of the grievance procedure must not be retaliated against for doing so. An employee may choose another faculty/staff person to accompany him or her through the steps of the procedure.

An employee or applicant who feels that a review has not resolved a grievance to his or her satisfaction may appeal the outcome to the associate vice president for human resources. The appeal should be in writing and signed. The associate vice president for human resources will make a determination on the appeal and promptly inform the employee in writing of it.

An employee or applicant who feels that the grievance has still not been resolved to his or her satisfaction may then appeal the outcome to the senior vice president for business and finance, whose decision is final for the University.