What is the legal definition of a person with a disability?
The legal definition has three parts:
• An individual has an impairment that substantially limits a major life activity.
• Has a record of a disability, for example, one now in remission.
• Is an individual who is treated or viewed as though he or she is disabled.
• An individual closely associated to an individual with a disability, for example, a relative.
Another key aspect of the law is the definition of “substantially limiting effect.” Essentially this means that one or a number of major life activities, including bodily functions, are affected by the disability. An individual's impairment must substantially limit one or more major life activities that an average person can perform with little or no difficulty.
Caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating and working. Major bodily functions, include functions of the immune system; normal cell growth; and digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine and reproductive functions.
This list does not include all possible effects that may result from a variety of disabling conditions.
TOPHow is a disability established under the ADAA?
Determining the existence of a disability:
Some disabilities are visible and clearly permanent. These individuals do not need to provide further documentation of a disability when requesting an accommodation. For others, a healthcare provider should indicate the nature of the disability to EOO, referring to the major life activities discussed above. Supervisors and faculty members should not attempt to determine whether an individual has a disability. Please contact EOO.
Determining an appropriate accommodation:
The healthcare provider determines whether the individual needs an accommodation to perform the key functions of a position. Supervisors should not attempt to determine whether an accommodation is needed or what accommodations are appropriate. Instead, all inquiries should be made as follows:
TOPAs a faculty or staff member, how do I request a reasonable accommodation?
Faculty, staff, and applicants for employment:
Equal Opportunity and Outreach: 978-934-3565
EOO or Student Disability Services will begin an interactive dialog with the employee requesting an accommodation, the supervisor, and the healthcare provider as appropriate.
• Make an appointment with EOO staff, 978-934-3563 for explanation of the process and to receive documentation for your health care provider.
• Inform your health care provider that you have made a request for an accommodation at work.
• If EOO requests further information, ask your health care provider to complete the documentation you receive from EOO staff.
• Health care provider sends material directly to EOO.
• EOO reviews documentation.
• For classroom assignment accommodation requests, EOO contacts the Registrar's Office. For other requests, EOO contacts the supervisor to discuss feasibility. EOO does not divulge details about the disabling condition to supervisor.
• If the request is feasible, EOO will work with the supervisor as appropriate in the implementation of the accommodation or a reasonable substitute that accomplishes the same result: allowing the employee to fulfill the essential functions of the job.