Disability Services, Reasonable Accommodations and ADA

Americans with Disabilities Act

The Americans with Disabilities Act was passed in 1990 to halt the systemic exclusion of persons with disabilities from the benefits and services available to most citizens. The act applies to education, employment, transportation, communications and public accommodations.

Human Resources serves as the coordinator for employment requests for reasonable accommodation and works with employees, with qualifying disabilities, who may need some type of reasonable accommodation to be successful in their work assignment.

Reasonable Accommodations

According to the ADA, an employer must provide a reasonable accommodation for the known limitations of a qualified applicant or employee with a disability, unless the employer can show that the accommodation would impose an undue hardship on the business, or no accommodation exists that would eliminate a direct threat that the limitation poses to the health or safety of the person or others.

What is Required Under ADA?

  • Making existing facilities readily accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities
  • Job restructuring, modifying work schedules, or reassignment to a vacant position
  • Acquiring or modifying equipment or devices, adjusting or modifying examinations, training materials, or policies, and providing qualified readers/ interpreters


  • A "Qualified Individual" is a person who satisfies the requisite skills, experience, education, and other job-related requirements of the position and who can perform the essential functions of the position, with or without reasonable accommodation.
  • A person is “substantially” limited in performing a major life activity if they are unable to perform the activity; or they are significantly restricted in the condition, manner or duration that they can perform one or more major life activity as compared to the average person in the population.
  • “Disability” is established under the ADA:
    • Case by case
    • There is no “list” of disabilities
    • A determination of a disability cannot be made based upon the diagnosis of the condition or the type of impairment
    • The determination that a disability exists is based upon the affect it has on the life of the individual
    • It is not based on other definitions of disability such as the VA or Social Security definitions

What You Can Not Ask Applicants

Employers may not ask job applicants about the existence, nature, or severity of a disability, directly or indirectly.

What You Can Ask Applicants

Employers may ask about applicant's ability to perform specific job functions and how they would complete a task. Example: you may state the physical requirements of a job (lifting a certain amount of weight, or climbing ladders), and ask if the applicant can satisfy these requirements.

Employers may ask about an applicant's non-medical qualifications and skills, such as the applicant's education, work history, and required certifications/licenses.

Employers may ask applicants to describe or demonstrate how they would perform job tasks.

A job offer may be conditioned on the results of a medical examination, if the examination is required for all employees entering in similar jobs.

Medical examinations are job related and consistent with the employer's business needs.

Declining to Provide Accommodations

The Human Resource Office may decline to provide an accommodation if such accommodation is an "undue hardship" or "direct threat".

If an employee feels that an accommodation has been declined inappropriately, they have the right to file a complaint with the Equal Opportunity & Title IX Office (507-389-2986).