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Disability Grievance

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What is a disability grievance?

A grievance is complaint of discrimination or harassment on the basis of disability. It can be made by staff, faculty, students and applicants for both University employment and academic admission, vendors, contractors, and third parties.

 Examples of Issues Necessitating a Disability Grievance

  • Unrealistic workload or expectations
  • Need for reasonable adjustments, such as physical or learning accommodations
  • Failure to follow policies or procedures
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How to report a disability grievance

Report to the Office of Civil Rights and Title IX Compliance

A grievance must be filed in writing, contain the name and address of the person filing it, and briefly describe the alleged violation.

Additional Information & Filing Procedures

Confidentiality and Disability Grievances

Northwestern cannot ensure total confidentiality in its investigation of grievances filed under these procedures. However, Northwestern makes every reasonable effort to conduct investigations and related proceedings in a manner that protects the privacy of all parties.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Who will see my report?

The report will be handled by Northwestern's Office of Civil Rights and Title IX Compliance

What will happen to me after I report?

An investigation will follow the filing of a grievance. The investigation will be conducted by the Section 504 Coordinator or his/her designee.

You will have the opportunity to describe your allegations and present supporting witnesses or other evidence. The respondent will have the opportunity to respond to each allegation and present supporting witnesses or other evidence. The investigator will review evidence presented and may meet with additional witnesses. 

What are the next steps? Will I be told the resolution of what I shared?

At the conclusion of an investigation, the Section 504 Coordinator will determine whether Northwestern’s policy prohibiting discrimination and harassment has been violated on the basis of disability. The Section 504 Coordinator will provide his or her conclusions and any recommended actions to the appropriate University office. 

  • For staff, the appropriate office is the Office of Human Resources in collaboration with the respondent’s manager(s).
  • For students, the appropriate office is the Dean of Students.
  • For faculty, the appropriate office is the faculty member’s Chair or Dean.
The appropriate office will review the recommendations and, in consultation with the Section 504 Coordinator, make a decision concerning the resolution of the grievance and any corrective actions that will be imposed. You and the respondent will be notified in writing of the outcome of the investigation upon its conclusion.

Know your rights: Northwestern's Non-Retaliation Policy

Northwestern's Policy on Non-Retaliation strictly prohibits retaliation against any member of its community for reporting or inquiring in good faith about suspected wrongful or unlawful activity, or participating in an investigation or proceeding related to such activity. The University considers such actions to be protected activities in which all members may freely engage without worry of negative consequences.