The Reasonable Employer (RE) Process
The Reasonable Employer (RE) Process is initiated when you have been out of work due to a medical condition or on-the job injury/illness and has exhausted all applicable leaves. Human Resources will work with a number of campus professionals when determining whether an employee can and should be returned to his/her position.
Questions should be directed to the Reasonable Employer Chairperson at 303-735-5933.
Frequently Asked Questions
The following two situations prompt the RE Process:
- An employee has been released to return to work following an on-the-job or non-job related illness or injury and has been given permanent work restrictions;
- An employee is out of work due to his/her on-the-job or non-job related illness or injury and is about to exhaust all job protected leave and needs a workplace modification or reasonable accommodation in order to be able to return to work at the University. (For classified employees, job protected leave includes sick, annual, and Family Medical Leave (FML), and where applicable, On-the-Job Injury (OJI) leave, Make Whole and Short-term Disability (STD) leave. For university staff (US) job protected leave includes OJI and FML.)
The success of the RE Process is dependent upon campus departments contacting the RE Process Coordinator as soon as they become aware that one of their employees has been released to return to work with permanent restrictions or is likely to exhaust all of their available leave before being able to return to work. Campus departments are expected to:
- Monitor their employees’ leave usage closely,
- Communicate frequently with employees that are out of work in order to stay informed of their status and plans to return to work, and
- Obtain updated FML Medical Certificates, Fitness to Return-to-Work forms, and/or worker’s compensation disposition RE Processorts from the employee, as appropriate.
In addition, campus departments should review their employees’ position description questionnaires (PDQs)/job descriptions on annual basis to ensure they are up to date and that they accurately reflect essential job functions, as this information is useful in determining whether an employee can be returned to their position. Because each case is different, once the RE Process is initiated by the department, the RE Process Coordinator will inform the department of any additional responsibilities they may need to comply with in order to successfully complete the RE Process.
- Employees are responsible for communicating frequently with their departments about the status of their illness/injury and their plans to return to work
- Employees are also responsible for providing completed FML medical certification forms, Fitness to Return to Work forms, and worker’s compensation disposition RE Process to their departments in a timely manner
- Once the RE Process process has been initiated, employees may be asked to provide an updated resume or information about any occupational skills/experience they have to the appropriate consultant from Recruitment/Position & Compensation Management. This consultant will use this information to assess any vacant alternate positions for which the employee may be qualified.
- The employee
- The employee’s department (usually the employee’s supervisory upline and department HR/payroll RE Process Chairperson)
- An Employee Relations consultant / RE Chairperson
- University Counsel
- University Risk Management (if the employee’s illness/injury was suffered on-the-job)
- The ADA Coordinator
- Recruitment/Position & Compensation Management
- Employee Relations
Workplace Modification – A physical or environmental workplace adjustment (for example, a workspace or vehicle adjustment or communication technology device) that enables an employee job. Workplace modifications may be granted to an employee irrespective of whether they are a qualified individual with a disability under the ADA.
Reasonable Accommodation - Any modification or adjustment to a job or the work environment that will enable a qualified applicant or employee with a disability under the ADA to participate in the application process or to perform essential job functions (for example, a workplace modification or the granting of a finite amount of additional job protected leave).
Essential Job Functions – Those duties of a job that the employee must able to perform either with or without reasonable accommodation. Non-essential job functions are those that could be redesigned or reassigned to other employees, if necessary.