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.
How 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:
Faculty, staff, and applicants for employment:
EOO or Student Disability Services will begin an interactive dialog with the employee requesting an accommodation, the supervisor, and the healthcare provider as appropriate.