Office for Institutional Equity Home

Employee Accommodation FAQ 


What is the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)?

The ADA is a federal civil rights law for people with disabilities, comparable to civil rights law passed in the 1960s for other minorities.  It covers employment, state and local government services, public accommodations, and telecommunications for the deaf (The Council for Disability Rights).

On September 25, 2008, President George W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 ("ADA Amendments Act" or "Act").  The Act emphasizes that the definition of disability should be construed in favor of broad coverage of individuals to the maximum extent permitted by the terms of the ADA and generally shall not require extensive analysis.  The effect of these changes is to make it easier for an individual seeking protection under the ADA to establish that he or she has a disability within the meaning of the ADA.

Who is responsible for determining appropriate and reasonable accommodations at Ohio University?

The Office for Institutional Equity, in collaboration with the employee requesting the accommodation and her/his supervisor, will determine the most appropriate and reasonable accommodation.  Although the Office for Institutional Equity makes every effort to be collaborative in identifying an appropriate accommodation that all parties agree to, the final determination for the most appropriate accommodation will be the decision of the Office for Institutional Equity.

Who within the Ohio University community is eligible to receive reasonable accommodation support from the Office for Institutional Equity?

If you are working for the University at the Athens Campus, or any of its regional campuses, and meet the eligibility standard for being a person with disabilities you are able to receive accommodation support from the Office for Institutional Equity.

Does this include Ohio University students?

Yes, students who are working at Ohio University are also eligible for reasonable accommodations within their work setting.

What are some ADA related web sites?

A Guide to Disability Rights Law 
Job Accommodation Network
Enforcement Guidance: Reasonable Accommodation and Undue Hardship Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission)
Disability Rights Ohio
The Council for Disability Rights
2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design

What employees are covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)?

In general, the ADA prohibits discrimination against a qualified person with a disability.  There are no affirmative action requirements in the ADA.  An employer can still hire the most qualified person for the job as long as the disability is not used to disqualify a person.

A "qualified person with a disability" is one who is able to perform the essential functions of a job with or without a reasonable accommodation.  The "essential functions" of a job include those job tasks which are fundamental to the position, rather than marginal.  For example, an essential function for a receptionist is to greet and direct visitors, not to hang coats.  Employers should revise job descriptions to reflect the essential functions and approximate time spent on each task. (The Council for Disability Rights)

Am I required to disclose a disability?

The short answer is no.  Every job seeker with a disability is faced with the same decision: "Should I or shouldn't I disclose my disability"?  This decision may be framed differently depending upon whether you have a visible disability or a non-visible disability.  Ultimately, the decision of whether to disclose is entirely up to you.

How does the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) define a "major life activity"?

In general, 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, communication, and working.  A major life activity also includes the operation of a major bodily function, including but not limited to, functions of the immune system, normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, and reproductive functions.

Who should I contact to learn about available support services for an undergraduate or graduate student living with disabilities?

Contact Student Accessibility Services ( located in Baker University Center, Suite 348.  740-593-2620 (phone)

How does the Office for Institutional Equity facilitate reasonable accommodation requests?

The approach used in putting together a Reasonable Accommodation Plan is to look at the "whole person" in terms of how they choose to embrace their world and their work.  We then focus on learning how the disability is presenting itself in a way that has disrupted how one desires to embrace their world and their work.  Once the learning has occurred regarding the disability's impact, the Reasonable Accommodation Plan is developed in partnership with the person requesting support and their supervisor.  There are four steps:

Step One: The Request for Accommodation is made by contacting the Office for Institutional Equity, Crewson House 101, 740-593-9132.
Step Two: Verification of Eligibility Status for Reasonable Accommodation
Step Three: Determine the Appropriate Accommodation
Step Four: Accommodation Check-in and Evaluation


The Question of Confidentiality

The Office for Institutional Equity treats all materials provided to the office as confidential and uses the materials only to establish eligibility for reasonable accommodation under the ADA.  The materials are also used to assist in identifying accommodation plans.

Are supervisors at Ohio University legally responsible for accommodating qualified employees with disabilities?

The law does require that the University formally consider reasonable modifications regarding how qualified individual1s with disabilities perform their essential duties.  Supervisors are expected to contact the Office for Institutional Equity when a request for a reasonable accommodation has been requested of them.  The responsibility to provide reasonable accommodations falls into these three categories:

1. Equal opportunity in the application process.
2. Support of employees with disabilities ability to perform essential job functions.
3. Enabling employees with disabilities to enjoy the same benefits and privileges of employment as are enjoyed by employees with disabilities.

How long will it take before I receive a reasonable accommodation?

It will depend on the complexity of the disability impact.  However, the majority of the accommodations are able to be implemented quickly.

What should supervisors do if an employee reports having a disability?

Contact the Office for Institutional Equity, Crewson House 101, 740-593-9132.

If I believe I have been discriminated against because of my status as a person with a disability, what should I do?

Contact the Assistant Director for Civil Rights Compliance, Office for Institutional Equity, Crewson House 101, 740-593-9132.

What kinds of reasonable accommodations are there?

There are a number of possible accommodations that an employer may have to provide in connection with modifications to the work environment or adjustments in how and when a job is performed.  These include:

1) making existing facilities accessible;
2) job restructuring;
3) reducing to part-time or modifying work schedules;
4) acquiring or modifying equipment;
5) changing tests, training materials, or policies;
6) providing qualified readers or interpreters; and
7) reassigning to a vacant position.

Does the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) require employers to provide reasonable accommodations during the application process?

Yes!  Employers have an obligation to make reasonable accommodations to enable applicants with disabilities to apply for jobs.

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) what protections do I have in the workforce?

The ADA makes it unlawful to discriminate on the basis of disability in all employment processes such as recruitment, hiring, firing, training, job assignments, promotions, pay, benefits, and leave.

Where can I go to learn about disability rights laws?

There are many resources available on the internet.  As a first step, we recommend reviewing the guides available at (

What is the process for reviewing a denial of a reasonable accommodation or inability to agree on an accommodation in the workplace?

Review of decisions to deny requests for accommodation in the application process or workplace may be made to the University ADA/504 Coordinator, who will attempt to resolve the dispute informally.  In the event that an informal resolution is not possible, the ADA/504 Coordinator shall render a final written decision in regards to the reasonableness of the accommodation under the circumstances.  For more information on the University's policy on the Americans with Disabilities Act Compliance, visit