We aim to be responsive to the needs of our staff and students with disability. We are committed to providing an accessible and inclusive work and study environment where people with disability can participate fully in all aspects of University life.
How we support you
The University will work with staff members who have a temporary or permanent medical condition, injury or disability that impacts on their ability to do their job by:
- taking steps to ensure that their workplace is accessible
- introducing reasonable workplace accommodations (workplace adjustment) that enable the staff member to work effectively and meet the inherent requirements of their position.
Under State and Federal anti-discrimination legislation, disability is very broadly defined and can also be inclusive of an injury, illness or medical condition. The Federal Disability Discrimination Act 1992 defines disability as:
- total or partial loss of the person's bodily or mental functions
- total or partial loss of a part of the body
- the presence in the body of organisms causing disease or illness
- the presence in the body of organisms capable of causing disease or illness
- the malfunction, malformation or disfigurement of a part of the person's body
- a disorder or malfunction that results in the person learning differently from a person without a disorder or malfunction
- a disorder, illness or disease that affects a person's thought processes, perception of reality, emotions or judgement or that results in disturbed behaviour.
It includes a disability that:
- presently exists
- previously existed but no longer exists
- may exist in the future (including because of a genetic predisposition to that disability)
- is imputed to a person.
To avoid doubt, a disability that is otherwise covered by this definition includes behaviour that is a symptom or manifestation of the disability.
Workplace adjustments are modifications or changes made to a job, the work environment or the way that work gets done to enable a staff member with a medical condition, injury or disability to work effectively. By law the University must make ‘reasonable adjustments’ where required to enable a person with a temporary or permanent disability to perform the inherent requirements of their position.
Such adjustments can include:
- modifying or providing equipment
- use of assistive technology
- making changes to job design, work schedules or other work practices in ways that do not compromise performance of the inherent requirements of the position
- providing a gradual return to full duties after a significant absence or illness
- providing training or other assistance
- modifying premises.
For more information, refer to the Workplace Adjustment Procedure.
In many cases there will be no direct cost or only a modest cost involved in introducing a workplace adjustment. How a workplace adjustment is funded depends on the nature of the adjustment and the cost.
The cost of minor equipment will be covered by the work unit. Funding for specialised equipment or other support services will be sought either from external funding or from central CSU funds. Adjustments involving alterations to buildings or facilities will be funded by the Division of Facilities Management.
The University will not fund the cost of personal aids that are required for private purposes nor will it pay the cost of treatment, except in the case of a workplace injury.
Requesting a workplace adjustment
Any staff member who has a temporary or permanent medical condition, injury or disability that impacts on their ability to perform their job can request a workplace adjustment. A supervisor may also make the request, with the consent of the staff member concerned.
While consideration will be given to the preferences of the individual, assessment of a request will also take into account:
- the reasonableness of the request
- any health practitioner recommendations
- the options available
- the operational requirements of the University
- whether the adjustment will help the person meet the inherent requirements of their position.
You can request a workplace adjustment either through your supervisor or a Human Resources officer. In most cases, requests for workplace adjustment will be referred to an appropriate HR officer for assessment and follow up action.
Contact the Division of People and Culture.
You'll need to disclose the nature of your injury, medical condition or disability in your request for workplace adjustment. If you don't wish to disclose this information to your supervisor, you can contact a Human Resources officer. The Human Resources officer will work with you to develop a Workplace Adjustment Plan that can be negotiated with your supervisor.
Depending on your injury, medical condition or disability and the nature of the adjustment, you may need to provide documentation of assessment by a:
- medical practitioner
- other recognised professional specialist.
They'll need to confirm your medical condition/disability and the functional limitations it involves and recommend appropriate workplace adjustments. This documentation is confidential to the Division of People and Culture
Inherent requirements are the core and essential components of a position, determined in relation to the purpose of the position and its intended outcomes. It may be possible to alter the way that work gets done to accommodate a condition or disability, as long as the job outcomes are met.
Workplace adjustments aren't intended to change the inherent requirements of a position, but to support a person with disability to fulfil them.
Apart from providing reasonable adjustment, if you're unable to undertake the inherent requirements of the position, the University has no legal obligation to ensure your ongoing employment.
Workplace Adjustment Plan
A Workplace Adjustment Plan is a confidential document that records workplace adjustments, how they will be implemented and when they'll be reviewed, as agreed by you and your supervisor. If relevant, it can also include a communication strategy, workplace training for colleagues and support required from colleagues.
While decisions about adjustments may be negotiated, the level of detail and amount of information included in the Plan is up to you.
Having a plan in place helps ensure continuity of arrangements. It means that if something changes, there's documentation you can refer to or build on instead of starting the process anew.
Your Workplace Adjustment Plan is confidential. Besides you, your supervisor and managers, the HR staff member working with you and any communication requirements agreed to in the Plan, it's up to you what information is provided to anyone else and who has access to your Workplace Adjustment Plan.
Monitoring your plan
Apart from the review dates set out in your Workplace Adjustment Plan, any ongoing adjustments should be reviewed at least annually with your supervisor. You should do this as part of your Employee Development and Review Scheme meetings to make sure the adjustments are still relevant and effective.
If your medical condition/disability is temporary, then the Workplace Adjustment Plan will be closed once you no longer require any form of workplace adjustment.
Changes to your plan
If the nature of your condition changes or there is a change in your work environment that impacts on the adjustments outlined in your Plan, you can seek to have them reviewed at any time.
You should discuss your concerns with your supervisor or the Division of People and Culture.
Implementation of the Workplace Adjustment Plan is a joint responsibility between you and your supervisor. If you have a change in supervisor, it's up to you to make sure your new supervisor is aware of your Plan.
If you believe that a Change Management process (as outlined in the Enterprise Agreement) may affect the adjustments agreed to in your plan, you need to raise this with the Division of People and Culture.
Workplace related injury/disability
If you're injured at work, you may be entitled to workers compensation. The University must provide suitable employment for an injured worker wherever possible, and support the worker to recover and return to work quickly.
- CSU Disability Action Plan 2016 - 2019
- Disability and Work or Study Adjustment Policy
- Workplace Adjustment Procedure
- Communicating Without Bias Guidelines
External resources for employees
- Job Access: Access for People with Disability
- e-couch: Information and exercises to help you improve your mood and emotional state
- Know your rights: Disability discrimination
External resources for managers
- Job Access: Access for Employers
- Workers with mental illness: A practical guide for managers
- Training Resources: Mental health in the workplace
- Assistive technology in the workplace: National Disability Coordination Officer Program
- Australian Employers Network on Disability
- Disability Standards and Guidelines
- Australian Human Rights Commission: Disability Standards