Emerson College is committed to providing individuals with reasonable accommodations that may be required due to a disability in the classroom, in housing, and/or the work environment.  Please see Emerson’s ADA/Section 504 Policy for more information.  The Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO) (oeo [at] emerson.edu (oeo[at]emerson[dot]edu); 617-824-8999) is available to address concerns regarding the College’s policies and compliance with applicable laws, statutes, and regulations regarding disability accommodations, including the Americans with  Disabilities Act (ADA), the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504) and all other applicable federal or state laws.   

Disability Accommodation Requests

All student requests for disability accommodations should be submitted to Student Accessibility Services (SAS) (sas [at] emerson.edu (sas[at]emerson[dot]edu); 617-824-8592) for review.  All employee (faculty or staff) requests for disability accommodations should be submitted to Human Resources (HR) (hr [at] emerson.edu (hr[at]emerson[dot]edu); 617-824-8580).  Disability accommodations cannot be granted to a student or employee unless they have registered with SAS or HR.  Individuals requesting disability accommodations are required to share medical information relating to that disability with the College, which in some cases may include (but is not limited to) medical records and a release to speak with medical care providers.  Emerson will protect and maintain the privacy and confidentiality of any medical information obtained in connection with the reasonable accommodation process. The decision to grant or deny a requested disability accommodation is made by SAS or HR by engaging in the interactive process with the individual.   An accommodation request is not reasonable if it could fundamentally alter the nature of an academic course or if an employee cannot fulfill the essential functions of their position even with the accommodation.  Accommodations also cannot present an undue financial and administrative burden or hardship on the College.

Grievance Process

This grievance process provides the procedures by which an individual can grieve: 

  • the denial of a requested disability accommodation, or
  • how an approved disability accommodation has (or has not) been implemented.

For concerns about discrimination or harassment based on disability, please see the College’s Policy Against Discrimination, Harassment, & Sexual Violence.

If an individual has a concern about a disability accommodation that was denied or only partially granted by SAS or HR, that individual should first discuss their concerns with SAS or HR.  If an individual has a concern about how a disability accommodation (approved by SAS or HR) is being implemented (or not being implemented) in the classroom, in housing, or in the work environment, that individual should first discuss their concerns with the staff or faculty member responsible for putting the disability accommodation into place. The individual may also reach out to SAS (sas [at] emerson.edu (sas[at]emerson[dot]edu); 617-824-8592) or HR (hr [at] emerson.edu (hr[at]emerson[dot]edu); 617-824-8580) for assistance in having the approved disability accommodation put into effect. If these conversations do not resolve the matter, the individual may then contact the Office of Equal Opportunity (oeo [at] emerson.edu (oeo[at]emerson[dot]edu); 617-824-8999), to discuss these concerns and whether a grievance should be initiated regarding this situation.  An individual who plans to bring a  grievance under this process should notify the Office of Equal Opportunity (oeo [at] emerson.edu (oeo[at]emerson[dot]edu)) in writing of that intent within ten (10) business days after the denial of the request or within ten (10) business days after the attempts to resolve the concern directly with HR or SAS.  Upon notification of the intent to bring a grievance, the individual can work with OEO about what information might be needed for the process.

Initiating the Process

When a grievance is requested, OEO will conduct an initial review and assessment of the reported concerns to confirm that is appropriate for this Grievance Process.  If the Associate Vice-President of Equity, Access, & Equal Opportunity (AVP) (or their designee) determines that the grievance will move forward, at their discretion, they will assign one investigator to the grievance, who will be responsible for gathering information regarding the concerns raised. This investigation into the grievance may include (but is not limited to) a review of the information submitted by the Complainant to SAS or HR, interviews with any relevant witnesses, a review of any accommodation(s) offered, a chronology of events, information regarding any undue burden or hardship on the operations of the College’s programs or activities, and information regarding the fundamental nature of the program in which the accommodations are sought or the essential functions of the position where the accommodations are sought. The Complainant has the right to identify any witnesses, individuals with information and/or any other information which they believe may be relevant to the resolution of this grievance. The investigator will determine the scope of the investigation, at their discretion, and may consult with the AVP as needed throughout the investigation. The goal will be to complete any grievance process within thirty (30) business days from the initiation of the grievance. Depending on the complexity of the investigation, more or less time may be required to complete the process, at the discretion of the AVP.

At the conclusion of the investigation, the investigator will issue a decision regarding the grievance. This decision will be communicated to the Complainant in writing.  Through the investigator, OEO may decide to uphold the original decision or refer the matter back to SAS, HR, or whatever office is deemed appropriate by OEO, for modification or review of the decision based on recommendations by OEO, where applicable. The grievance process is final once the investigator issues a written decision on the grievance. There is no appeal from a grievance decision.