Interactive Process at UCSF

Questions? Contact Disability Management Services


UCSF engages in a good-faith interactive process to enable employees with disabilities to perform their essential job functions.

About the interactive process

In accordance with UCSF’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, the University engages in the interactive process to support reasonable accommodations. We engage in this process with staff, faculty, non-faculty academics, fellows, residents, postdoctoral scholars, and student employees.

If a University member is unable to perform the essential duties of their job due to work restrictions, the University will explore whether it can provide reasonable accommodations to allow an employee continuation of their essential functions or to perform the essential functions of another role for which they are qualified. Reasonable accommodations may include modifications or adjustments to the job or work environment. Examples of reasonable accommodations may include:

  • Temporary or permanent reduction in work hours
  • Job site modifications
  • Adaptive aids
  • Ergonomic tools or equipment
  • Leave of absence
  • Reassignment to another role

Disability Management Services (DMS) will facilitate an interactive process with the employee, and the individual they report to, to help determine any temporary or permanent accommodations that may be offered.

In this way, the University can retain and support valued, experienced, and trained employees while complying with state and federal statutes, the collective bargaining agreements, PPSM, APM and other UC policies.

Employee steps


Initiate the process

An employee may initiate the process:

  • Communicate to your supervisor (this may include your PI, chief or chair) the challenges you are experiencing in performing the duties and responsibilities of your position. It is not necessary in this discussion to disclose your health condition, just the factors that are impacting your ability to perform the work.
  • Reach out directly to your DMS analyst. You may find your campus analyst via the HR Find Your Rep Tool.
  • Make a request to your Academic HR generalist, HR liaison, division manager or other departmental representative verbally, in writing, or via a health care provider’s note.


Next steps

DMS will work with you and a designated departmental representative(s) to complete the process. These steps may vary depending upon your work-related limitations, the duration of the limitations, and the nature of your role. These steps may include the following actions:

  • Request written documentation from your health care provider describing:
    • Your specific job-related (functional) limitations
    • The length of time the work restrictions are expected to be in place.
      • Upon receipt of this information, DMS will speak with you to review your work-related restrictions and any requested accommodations.
  • DMS will then schedule and facilitate an interactive meeting with you and appropriate departmental representatives.
  • During the interactive meeting we will:
    • Review the specific work-related restrictions and whether these restrictions are permanent or temporary, and 
    • Discuss the requested accommodation option(s) that may allow you to perform your job functions. While any requested accommodations will be considered; based on the nature of the work restrictions, your role, and/or the department’s business needs; the department may also offer alternate, equally effective, reasonable accommodation options.
    • Determine the duration of the agreement and any associated review of the agreed-upon terms.


When agreements are reached

DMS will work with your department to develop a transitional work plan (TWP), a memorandum of understanding (MOU), and any other documentation required to outline the temporary and/or permanent agreements.

  • Your work accommodation(s) will be initiated and will include:
    • Regular follow-up with your supervisor and DMS to review the effectiveness of the accommodations.
    • Your active participation in the interactive process. You will have an opportunity to communicate any concerns you have about the proposed accommodation(s).
  • Based on this ongoing discussion and review:
    • The interactive process may be re-initiated if the accommodation(s) implemented doesn't allow you to perform the essential functions of your role, your health condition changes, or additional or alternate accommodations need to be considered.
    • If your health condition resolves, you will be asked to provide updated documentation from your health care provider that documents your release to return to full duty. If you provide clinical services, a release through the Medical Staff Office and/or Occupational Health Services (OHS) also may be needed.


If agreements are not reached

If agreements are not reached as part of the interactive process and/or there are no viable accommodations identified, DMS will work with you to determine next steps in the interactive process.


If you have been on a leave of absence

  • If you have been on a leave of absence as a reasonable accommodation and you are returning to work:
    • Ensure you have a release to return to work from your health care provider. You may also need a release from OHS.
    • If you are restricted upon your return to work, your provider must identify the work restrictions, the anticipated duration of the restrictions, and the date it is expected you will be able to resume performance of your essential functions.
  • Via the UCPath portal, review your benefits enrollments and benefits summary within 31 days of your return to work
    • Complete and submit your enrollments on the UCPath portal (if necessary) before the end of the 31st day
    • Review your first few paychecks to ensure deductions are correct.
    • Visit the UCPath Center for assistance or call 855-982-7284 (8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday).