Medical Separation as Part of the Interactive Process

Questions? Contact Disability Management Services


An employee who becomes unable to perform essential functions of their role may be medically separated from the University.

The decision to medically separate

The University's goal is to retain individuals with disabilities. This is not only in compliance with state and federal law, UC policy, and the collective bargaining agreements; this also is in support of the University's efforts to provide equal access, opportunities and resources for individuals who may otherwise be excluded or marginalized, such as individuals having physical or mental disabilities. This is part of the University's overarching diversity efforts.

If an employee becomes unable to perform the essential functions of their position, Disability Management Services (DMS) will:

  1. Facilitate the interactive process with the employee and the supervisor to determine any temporary accommodations that are viable. 
    • These may be temporary accommodations that keep the employee working in their own or another department; or a leave of absence may be provided as the accommodation.
    • The determination of how long temporary accommodations are viable occurs as part of this process.
  2. If restrictions are static and/or ongoing, we will begin to look toward any permanent accommodations that can be implemented to allow an employee to continue performing the essential functions of their regular role.
    • There is no established time frame for this to occur. This is an individualized assessment that is based on the anticipated duration of the ongoing restrictions as well as the business needs of the work unit, patient care needs, viability of temporary staffing options, etc.
  3. If it is not possible to accommodate an employee in their regular job, DMS will work with the employee and department to assess any other open positions within the department.
  4. If there are no open positions in the department for which the employee is qualified, DMS will work with the employee to seek permanent alternate work within the campus and the health system, for which the employee is qualified.
  5. If this process is not successful, we may move forward with medical separation.  


What happens in a medical separation?

  1. Disability Management Services (DMS) will generally notify you this process is being initiated.
  2. You then will receive a Notice of Intent to Medically Separate (NOIMS) from your department outlining the reasoning behind the request to move forward with medical separation.
  3. If you are not in agreement with the action, you may request to meet with the Skelly Officer identified in the NOIMS. This individual will speak with you and will make decisions regarding the request for medical separation. If:
    • The decision is upheld, you will be issued a Notice of Medical Separation (NOMS). You will be paid any vacation leave balances in HBS.
    • The decision is not upheld, we will resume the interactive process and reassess any viable accommodations.
  4. You will have the opportunity to work with your supervisor or manager to collect any personal belongings.

If you are medically separated, you are eligible for re-employment services:

  • For one year from the date of medical separation if you were separated without disability income through the University’s retirement system
  • For three years from the date of medical separation, with receipt of disability income through the University’s retirement system.

If you are medically separated and believe you may be able to resume work activity, contact DMS and we will advise you on the re-employment process. Contact DMS at 415-476-2621.


Relevant policies