Nikki Pelonia serves as North Shore Community College’s (NSCC) ADA/Section 504 Coordinator.  The ADA/504 Coordinator is responsible for preventing discrimination against students, employees, and others based on a disability and ensuring compliance with all procedures and procedural safeguards required under ADA/504. Among his responsibilities within this role, Nikki facilitates the interactive process for employee reasonable accommodation requests. To learn more about this role and the reasonable accommodation process, please see below.

Students requesting reasonable accommodations may contact NSCC’s Wellness and Accessibility Services at

Employees may request reasonable accommodations by filling out the North Shore Community College Employee Accommodation Request Information Form

ADA/Section 504 Protections

Employees of North Shore Community College (“NSCC”) are provided protections under Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (“ADA”), as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 12132, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. § 794, which requires nondiscrimination toward people with disabilities. NSCC also complies with Massachusetts laws that ensure access for people with disabilities, including, but not limited to: Article CXIV of the Massachusetts Constitution; M.G.L Chapters 93 § 103, and Massachusetts Executive Order 592.

The American’s with Disabilities Act (ADA) makes it unlawful to discriminate in all employment practices such as:

  • Recruitment
  • Pay
  • Hiring
  • Firing
  • Promotion
  • Job assignments
  • Training
  • Leave
  • Lay-off
  • Benefits
  • All other employment related activities

Who is Protected?

To be protected under the ADA, an individual must have, have a record of, or be regarded as having a substantial, as opposed to a minor, impairment. A substantial impairment is one that significantly limits or restricts a major life activity such as hearing, seeing, speaking, breathing, performing manual tasks, walking, caring for oneself, learning or working.

An individual with a disability must also be qualified to perform the essential functions of the job with or without reasonable accommodation, in order to be protected by the ADA. This means that the applicant or employee must: satisfy your job requirements for educational background, employment experience, skills, licenses, and any other qualification standards that are job related; and be able to perform those tasks that are essential to the job, with or without reasonable accommodation.

What are Essential Functions of a Job? 

Essential functions are the basic job duties that an employee must be able to perform, with or without reasonable accommodation. You should carefully examine each job to determine which functions or tasks are essential to performance. (This is particularly important before taking an employment action such as recruiting, advertising, hiring, promoting or firing).

Factors to consider in determining if a function is essential include:

  • whether the reason the position exists is to perform that function,
  • the number of other employees available to perform the function or among whom the performance of the function can be distributed, and
  • the degree of expertise or skill required to perform the function.

What are Reasonable Accommodations?

Reasonable accommodation is any change or adjustment to a job or work environment that permits a qualified applicant or employee with a disability to participate in the job application process, to perform the essential functions of a job, or to enjoy benefits and privileges of employment equal to those enjoyed by employees without disabilities. For example, reasonable accommodation may include:

  • acquiring or modifying equipment or devices,
  • job restructuring,
  • part-time or modified work schedules,
  • reassignment to a vacant position,
  • adjusting or modifying examinations, training materials or policies,
  • providing readers and interpreters, and
  • making the workplace readily accessible to and usable by people with disabilities.

Reasonable accommodations also must be made to enable an individual with a disability to participate in the application process, and to enjoy benefits and privileges of employment equal to those available to other employees.

It is a violation of the ADA to fail to provide reasonable accommodation to the known physical or mental limitations of a qualified individual with a disability, unless to do so would impose an undue hardship on the operation of your business. Undue hardship means that the accommodation would require significant difficulty or expense.

What is the Process to Request Reasonable Accommodations?

The process for employees to request reasonable accommodations is called the “interactive process”. The goal of the interactive process is to provide equal access to employment opportunities and practice non-discrimination at NSCC. During the interactive process, the ADA/Section 504 Coordinator or their designee will work with employees and applicants to determine what reasonable accommodations the College will provide.

The first step in the interactive process is to fill out the North Shore Community College Employee Accommodation Request Information Form. After the form is completed, an individual from the office of the Chief Diversity and Equity Officer will reach out to schedule a meeting. The interactive process is a collaborative process and may vary from situation to situation. Please know, part of the interactive process may require documentation and for the employee to provide relevant information. NSCC prioritizes the security of this information and the privacy of every community member.

Reasonable Accommodations for Pregnant Employees

To best support our community at NSCC, the ADA/Section 504 Coordinator is designated as the point of contact to provide guidance, support, and resources about lactation support services or generally regarding nursing members of our community, as well as those who are pregnant or experiencing related medical conditions. Though pregnancy itself is not a disability under the ADA, employees who are pregnant or experiencing related medical conditions should participate in the same interactive process to request accommodations. To request reasonable accommodation, you can begin the interactive process by filling out the Employee Accommodation Request Information Form or contact

What if an Employee Experiences Discrimination?

NSCC’s Policy on Affirmative Action, Equal Opportunity, and Diversity prohibits discrimination or harassment based on protected classes, including disability.  If you or any other member of the NSCC community experiences discrimination or harassment based on a disability, you can file a report on NSCC’s Complaint Form or email Nick Royal, NSCC’s Title IX Coordinator, Affirmative Action and Compliance Officer, at

Additionally, individuals can file a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights or the Massachusetts State House’s ADA Coordinator.


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