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GEN 1.2.(3). Communicable Diseases and Life-Threatening Medical Conditions.

 

(1)   The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh endorses the State of Wisconsin's policy on the subject of communicable diseases and life-threatening medical conditions. (Reference: State of Wisconsin, Department of Employment Relations, January 13, 1989.)

(a)   Toward that end, the University is committed to employment practices which encourage people with disabilities, regardless of the nature of the disability, to maintain productive status in the state workforce. The University recognizes:

  1. that it is important for employees with life-threatening medical conditions (including but not limited to cancer, heart disease, hepatitis and AIDS/HIV) to continue to participate in as many of their normal activities as their condition will allow, including work;
  2. that employment may be therapeutically important in the remission or recovery process and may help to prolong and improve the quality of the employees' lives [Note: As long as employees meet acceptable performance standards, and medical evidence indicates their conditions pose no risk to themselves or others in the workplace, managers shall be sensitive to their conditions and ensure that they are treated with dignity and respect consistent with the treatment of other state employees.]; and
  3. that the University is obligated to provide a safe work environment for its employees and the public it serves.

(b)   Given the foregoing, the University will ensure to the best of its ability that an employee's health condition does not present a significant health and/or safety risk to other employees or the public.

(c)   The University recognizes the need to maintain an open and informed environment for its employees; therefore, our employees shall have access to education resources on health issues to eliminate prejudice and unwarranted fear about diseases in the workplace.

(d)   The University further recognizes that an employee's medical condition is personal and confidential and not subject to disclosure to others without consent unless otherwise provided by law. The University hereby assures its employees of complete confidentiality when seeking counseling or medical referral assistance. (The right to confidentiality is subject to the employer's responsibility to protect other employees and the public from contracting or being exposed to a contagious disease.)

(e)   Finally, the University recognizes that state law prohibits AIDS testing as a condition of employment. The University also accepts the responsibility of the Secretary of the Department of Employment Relations, pursuant to Sec. 230.04, Stats., to ensure that employees who have communicable diseases and/or life-threatening medical conditions do not suffer discrimination in employment.

(2)   The University will operate consistent with the policy of the State of Wisconsin to continue the employment of employees and to provide employment opportunities to qualified applicants who have communicable diseases and/or life-threatening medical conditions so long as such persons remain able to perform their assigned duties safely and efficiently and the employee's health condition does not present a significant health and/or safety risk to other employees, clients served, or the public.

(3)   The University agrees to provide reasonable accommodation in accordance with federal and state laws and policies. Discussions of accommodation requests must include the Director of Equity and Affirmative Action.

(4)   Supervisors must consider requests from employees for accommodation. Employee's who recognize a need for accommodation are encouraged to report their medical conditions to their supervisors so that their requests for accommodations can be appropriately considered. [Note: References to "supervisors" or "managers" in this document are based on the state policy document. These phrases should be interpreted to refer to corresponding positions at the University, recognizing the rights and status of classified employees, academic staff, faculty, and persons serving in limited appointments.]

(5)   Supervisors must counsel employees who feel threatened by a co-worker's illness concerning matters involving their employment. There is no requirement to provide alternate accommodations.

(6)   The following procedures shall be followed by managers and supervisors when they are made aware that an employee has a communicable disease and/or a life-threatening medical condition.

(a)   The University shall periodically provide updated information on communicable diseases and/or life-threatening medical conditions in the workplace.

(b)   In addition to the publication of this statement in the Faculty and Faculty and Academic Staff Handbook, employees, managers and supervisors may, as necessary, receive training on this policy and other relevant information on specific conditions.

(c)   All actions taken under this policy shall be consistent with the goal of the policy which is continued employment for employees who are able to work. Toward this end, managers and supervisors may make appropriate referrals to:

  1. the Employee Assistance Program;
  2. the Human Resources Office (for information and assistance on benefits including sick leave, life and health insurance, alternative work patterns, disability leave and other benefits); and
  3. community medical, education and support resources (as necessary and appropriate)

(d)   All matters pertaining to an employee's medical condition are personal and confidential. Reasonable precautions must be taken to protect from disclosure unauthorized information regarding employees' health conditions. Managers and supervisors must not discuss an employee's condition without her/his authorization except as required to administer this policy. A written consent should be obtained.

(e)   The Director of the Employee Assistance Program is available for consultation when managing a situation that involves an employee with a communicable disease and/or a life-threatening medical condition.

(f)    Decision on accommodation requests may require consultation with the Director of Equity and Affirmative Action and the Director of the Employee Assistance Program.

(g)   When a manager or supervisor is informed or becomes aware that other employees believe that an employee has a communicable disease and/or life-threatening medical condition, the concerned employee should be informed and consulted regarding steps to be taken.

(h)   Managers and supervisors should be sensitive to co-workers' concerns. They should emphasize employee education and make arrangements to provide it in consultation with the Director of the Employee Assistance Program. TheHealth Place, a service program sponsored by theCollegeofNursing, may also provide help and assistance with the educational outreach activities. However, no special consideration need be given beyond normal transfer requests to employees who feel threatened by a co-worker's communicable disease and/or life-threatening medical condition.

(i)     Employees with communicable diseases and/or life-threatening medical conditions will be encouraged to seek referral and information assistance from the Director of the Employee Assistance Program.

(j)     If any problems or issues arise relating to the implementation of these policies or procedures, the Chancellor may convene an ad hoc task force that shall include the following among its members: the Director of the Employee Assistance Program, the Director of Equity and Affirmative Action, the Director of Human Services, and other appropriate administrators.

(k)   All complaints alleging violation of this policy or these procedures shall be presented in writing to the Director of Equity and Affirmative Action and will be investigated in accordance with the applicable complaint procedures.

(7)   List of references supporting this policy.

The Wisconsin Fair Employment Law; (2) Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended; (3) State of Wisconsin Reasonable Accommodations Policy; (4) United States Department of Justice, Office of Legal Counsel, Memorandum on the Application of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act to HIV-Infected Person (September 27, 1988); and (5) Standards Issued by the Federal Center for Disease Control.

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