Key Terms & Definitions
“Disability” means, with respect to an individual:
- A physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of such an individual;
- A record of having such an impairment; or
- Being regarded as having such impairment.
The determination of whether an impairment is a disability shall be determined on a case-by-case basis. The definition of “disability” shall be construed in favor of a broad coverage of conditions and should not require extensive analysis.
“Regarded As Disabled”
is an individual who is regarded as being disabled whether, or not, a disability actually exists. The individual is protected from discrimination on the basis of the perceived disability but does not have the right to receive a reasonable accommodation on the basis of such perceived disability.
is defined as an impairment that significantly restricts the duration, manner, or condition under which an individual can perform a major life activity compared to an average person in the general population. The term should be construed broadly in favor of expansive coverage and may be evaluated on an individualized basis considering the difficulty, time, and effort required to perform activities. An impairment that is episodic or in remission but would substantially limit a major life activity when active is a disability. The determination of whether an impairment substantially limits a major life activity shall be made without the consideration of the positive effects of any mitigating measures, except for ordinary eyeglasses or contact lenses.
“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, communicating, and working. Major life activities also include major bodily functions including, but are not limited to, functions of the immune system, normal cell growth, and digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, and reproductive functions.
“Qualified individual with a disability.”
An individual with a disability whose experience, education, and/or training enable the person, with reasonable accommodation, to perform the essential functions of the job. An individual who poses a direct threat to self or others is not qualified under the ADA or applicable state law. A direct threat is defined as any significant risk to the health or safety of the individual or others that cannot be eliminated by a modification of policies, practices or procedures, or by the provision of auxiliary aids or services.
A job function is essential if removal of that function would fundamentally change the job, the position exists to perform that function, the function is highly specialized, or there are a limited number of employees who can perform that function.
is defined as any modification or adjustment to a job, an employment practice, or the work environment that is necessary to provide equal employment opportunities to qualified job applicants and/or enable an employee to perform the essential functions and duties of his or her work.
- Institutions are not required to supply individuals with attendants, individually prescribed equipment or devices such as hearing aids or wheelchairs, readers for personal use or study, or other items or services of a personal nature.
- Accommodations are not reasonable if they require the waiver or removal of an essential function or duty of an employee’s position or create an undue hardship.
- An institution is obligated to provide reasonable accommodation only for the known disabilities of an otherwise qualified individual.
is defined as “an action that requires ‘significant difficulty or expense’ in relation to the size of the employer, the resources available, and the nature of the operation.” In general, undue hardship includes any action that is: (1) unduly costly; (2) extensive; (3) substantial; (4) disruptive; or (5) that would fundamentally alter the nature or operation of the business.