Date: December 1988
To establish guidelines addressing the continued employment rights and
responsibilities of employees
with life-threatening illnesses and their co-workers.
II. APPLICABLE TO:
All University employees.
1. It is the responsibility of the employee to provide
physician certification as required when discharging
and returning from sick leave.
2. It is the responsibility of the supervisor/manager to
handle the employees health condition confidentiality
and take reasonable precautions to ensure a safe and healthy work environment for their employees.
3. It is the responsibility of the Assistant Vice President
for Human Resources Administration to administer
the overall policy procedures.
The University recognizes that employees with life-threatening illnesses,
including but not limited to cancer,
heart disease, and AIDS, may wish to continue to engage in as many as their normal pursuits as their condition
allows, including work. As long as these employees are able to meet acceptable performance standards, and
medical evidence indicates that their conditions are not a threat to themselves or others, managers should be
sensitive to their conditions and be sure that they are treated consistently with other employees. At the same
time, the University has an obligation to provide a safe work environment for all employees and students.
Every precaution should be taken to ensure that all employee's condition does not present a health and/or
safety threat to other employees or students.
Consistent with this concern for employees with life-threatening illnesses, the
University offers the
following range of resources available through the Office of Human Resource Administration:
1. Education of management and staff on terminal illness and specific life-threatening illnesses.
2. Referral to agencies and organizations which offer supportive services for life-threatening illnesses.
3. Focused consultation to assist employees in effectively
managing health insurance, leave, and other
1. When dealing with situations involving employees with life-threatening illnesses, managers should:
a. Remember that an employee's health condition is personal
and confidential. Reasonable precautions
should be taken to protect information regarding an employee's health condition. They should be
sensitive to the fact that continued employment for an employee with a life-threatening illness may
sometimes be therapeutically important in the remission or recovery process or may help to
prolong that employee's life.
b. Contact the Assistant Vice President for Human Resource
Administration if they or any other
employees need information about terminal illness and specific life-threatening illness. Consultation
and guidance will be given to assist in managing situations involving employees with life-threatening
illnesses. Any concerns about the possible contagious nature of an employee's illness should be
addressed to the Assistant Vice President for Human Resource Administration.
c. Make reasonable accommodation for employees with
life-threatening illnesses consistent with the
needs of the division/unit and Collective Bargaining Contracts. Also, consistent with Collective
Bargaining Contracts, managers should make a reasonable attempt to transfer employees with
life-threatening illnesses who request a transfer and are experiencing an undue emotional stress.
d. Be sensitive and responsive to co-worker's concerns and
emphasize employee education
available through the Office of Human Resource Administration and the Rhode Island Employee
Assistance Program. However, no special consideration need be given beyond normal transfer
requests for employees who feel threatened by a co-worker's life-threatening illnesses.
e. Consult with the Assistant Vice President of Human Resource
Administration to determine if a
statement should be obtained from the employee's attending physician that continued presence
at work will pose no threat to the employee, co-workers or students. The University reserves
the right to require an examination by a medical doctor appointed by the University.
2. Employees are required to submit a
Physician's Certification for sick leave (USP-14) to the Office
of Human Resource Administration.
3. Employees should be encouraged to
seek assistance from established community support groups for
medical treatment and counseling services. Information for these can be requested through the
Office of Human Resource Administration or directly from the Rhode Island Employee Assistance
Physician's Certification - Employee's Sick Leave
USP-16: Physician's Certification - Return from Sick Leave