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.
Types of Assistance Animals
Service animals are not pets. They are assistive tools like hearing aids and wheelchairs. A service animal under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is only a dog or miniature horse specifically trained to perform a task directly related to a person’s disability. Examples include, but are not limited to, guiding individuals who are blind, alerting individuals with a hearing loss to sounds, warning and protecting a person having a seizure, pulling a wheelchair, or retrieving a dropped item. The crime deterrent effects of an animal’s presence is not considered work or a task.
Under Wisconsin state law, a service animal may be any species, except restricted farm or wild animals or animals that present a health or safety risk ascertained by an individualized review, that is trained to perform a task directly related to the person’s disability. These service animals are only permitted in university facilities offering goods or services to the general public such as the Union.
Additional information about service animals:
- Not required to wear a harness, be tethered or leashed if it interferes with the person’s disability, but must always be under the control of its handler.
- Fully trained service dogs or miniature horses are permitted in virtually all locations or in most spaces the handler can go, except for employment work spaces or when its presence interferes with legitimate safety requirements of the facility.
- Fully trained service animals that are not dogs or miniature horses are only permitted in university facilities offering goods or services to the general public (e.g., Reeve Union).
- Handlers may not be asked for documentation for the animal or for their own disability or to have their animal demonstrate the task or work it performs.
- Handlers may not be charged a service or entrance fee for the service animal.
- Not permitted in employment workspaces unless approved as a reasonable accommodation by ADA Coordinator.
“Service Animals -In-Training”
Service animals-in-training are not recognized under the ADA and are not a reasonable accommodation, but they are protected under Wisconsin state law. They can be any species, except restricted farm or wild animals or animals that present a health or safety risk ascertained by an individualized review, and are only permitted in university facilities offering goods or services to the general public. Service animals-in-training are not permitted in classrooms or university housing. These animals are undergoing obedience or task-specific training such as: settling, attention to and focus on the handler, and behaviors associated with disability access.
Additional information about service animals-in-training:
- Permitted only in facilities offering goods or services to the general public, unless their presence would jeopardize the safe operation or fundamentally alter the program, service, or activity in the location.
- Must always be on a harness or leash and wear a special cape.
- Must always be under the control of the handler and in training mode.
- The handler may be asked to produce certification or documentation of a training school. However, a handler with a disability may not be asked for documentation of their own disability or certification or documentation that the animal is trained or is being trained.
“Emotional Support Animals”
Emotional support animals are any species, except restricted farm or wild animals or animals that present a health or safety risk ascertained by an individualized review, that alleviate one or more identified symptoms or effects of a person’s disability. An emotional support animal is not a pet and could be a reasonable accommodation under the Fair Housing Act or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. Emotional support animals, unlike service animals, have no special training to perform a specific task.
Additional information about emotional support animals:
- Not permitted in any university facilities, including those offering goods or services to the general public, unless approved as a reasonable accommodation by a university disability authority.
- Not required to wear a harness or cape.
- Not required to have training or any training certification.
- Must always be under the control of the handler.
Therapy animals provide affection and comfort to the public, typically in settings such as hospitals, disaster sites, or schools. These pets have a temperament suitable for interacting with members of the public and enjoy doing so. Therapy animals and therapy animals-in-training have no legal rights of access and are only permitted in facilities where they are welcomed and approved pursuant to UWS 18.08. While the handler may be a person with a disability, the therapy animal does not provide a disability-related service to the handler as its primary activity is interacting with and attending to the public.