Disability Policy and Workplace Accommodations

Consistent with federal and state law, Williams College policy prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in regard to application procedures, hiring, advancement, discharge, compensation, training, and all other terms, conditions, and privileges of employment.

The College will reasonably accommodate individuals with a disability so that they can apply for a position or perform the essential functions of a job unless doing so creates an undue hardship on business operations, or the individual poses a direct threat of substantial harm to themself or others in the workplace that cannot be eliminated by a reasonable accommodation. When an individual with a disability requests accommodation and can be reasonably accommodated as described above, they will be given the same consideration for employment as any other applicant or employee.

All employees are required to comply with the College’s safety standards. Current employees who pose a direct threat to their health and/or safety or that of other individuals in the workplace will be placed on appropriate leave until an organizational decision has been made in regard to the employees’ immediate employment situation.

Under the Massachusetts Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, pregnant and lactating employees also have a legal right to reasonable accommodations, including break time and a private space to express breast milk. More information about rights and reasonable accommodations under the Massachusetts Pregnant Workers Fairness Act can be found here:


Terms Used in the Policy

Direct threat means a significant risk to the health, safety or well-being of individuals with disabilities or others when this risk cannot be eliminated by reasonable accommodation.

*Disability refers to a person who can show that they have a disability in one of three ways:
A person may be disabled if they have a physical or mental condition that substantially limits a major life activity (such as walking, talking, seeing, hearing, or learning).

  • A person may be disabled if they have a history of a disability (such as cancer that is in remission).
  • A person may be disabled if they are believed to have a physical or mental impairment that is not transitory (lasting or expected to last six months or less) and minor (even if they does not have such an impairment).


Essential functions of the job refer to those job activities that are determined by the college to be essential or core to performing the job.  Modifying or eliminating one or more essential functions of a job is not a reasonable accommodation.

Major life activities include but are not limited to: caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, working and the operation of a major bodily function (such as functions of the immune system, special sense organs and skin, normal cell growth, and digestive, genitourinary, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, cardiovascular, endocrine, hemic, lymphatic, musculoskeletal, and reproductive functions).

Qualified individual means an individual who satisfies the skill, experience and other job-related requirements of the employment position that such individual holds or desires and who, with or without reasonable accommodation, can perform the essential functions of the job.

Reasonable accommodation means changes to the work environment that will allow a qualified disabled person to perform the essential functions of the job and will not impose an “undue hardship” on the employer.  Depending on the circumstances, such accommodations may include, for example, making existing facilities readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities, part-time or modified work schedules, telecommuting, reassignment to a vacant position, or the acquisition or modification of equipment or devices.

Undue hardship means significant difficulty or expense on the part of the employer.

Requests and Questions

The Office of Human Resources is responsible for implementing this policy, including resolution of reasonable accommodation, safety/direct threat and undue hardship issues. The first step in receiving consideration for accommodation is to complete the Reasonable Accommodation Request.

Applicants or employees with disability-related concerns should contact the Office of the Vice President of Institutional Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion or the Office of Human Resources for more information. You may reach the ADA Coordinator with questions pertaining to ADA or reasonable accommodations at the following:

Toya Camacho
Assistant Vice President for Institutional Diversity, Equity and Inclusion/Title IX Coordinator
Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Hopkins Hall, Room 110

Both Federal and state law prohibit employers from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities and require employers to provide reasonable accommodations to such individuals when needed, so that they may perform the essential job duties of the position.

Updated: March 2023