Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

Facts about the Americans with Disabilities Act

Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 prohibits private employers, state and local governments, employment agencies and labor unions from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities in job application procedures, hiring, firing, advancement, compensation, job training, and other terms, conditions, and privileges of employment. The ADA covers employers with 15 or more employees, including state and local governments. It also applies to employment agencies and to labor organizations. The ADA’s nondiscrimination standards also apply to federal sector employees under section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act, as amended, and its implementing rules.

An individual with a disability is a person who:

  • Has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities;
  • Has a record of such an impairment; or
  • Is regarded as having such an impairment.

A qualified employee or applicant with a disability is an individual who, with or without reasonable accommodation, can perform the essential functions of the job in question. Reasonable accommodation may include, but is not limited to:

  • Making existing facilities used by employees readily accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities.
  • Job restructuring, modifying work schedules, reassignment to a vacant position;
  • Acquiring or modifying equipment or devices, adjusting or modifying examinations, training materials, or policies, and providing qualified readers or interpreters.

An employer is required to make a reasonable accommodation for a known or reported disability of a qualified applicant or employee if it would not impose an “undue hardship” on the operation of the employer’s business. Reasonable accommodations are adjustments or modifications provided by an employer to enable people with disabilities to enjoy equal employment opportunities. Accommodations vary depending upon the needs of the individual applicant or employee. Not all people with disabilities (or even all people with the same disability) will require the same accommodation.

An employer does not have to provide a reasonable accommodation if it imposes an “undue hardship.” Undue hardship is defined as an action requiring significant difficulty or expense when considered in light of factors such as an employer’s size, financial resources, and the nature and structure of its operation.

An employer is not required to lower quality or production standards to make an accommodation; nor is an employer obligated to provide personal use items such as glasses or hearing aids.

An employer generally does not have to provide a reasonable accommodation unless an individual with a disability has asked for one.  If an employer believes that a medical condition is causing a performance or conduct problem, it may ask the employee how to solve the problem and if the employee needs a reasonable accommodation. Once a reasonable accommodation is requested, the employer and the individual should discuss the individual's needs and identify the appropriate reasonable accommodation. Where more than one accommodation would work, the employer may choose the one that is less costly or that is easier to provide.

Title I of the ADA also covers:

  • Medical Examinations and Inquiries
    Employers may not ask job applicants about the existence, nature, or severity of a disability. Applicants may be asked about their ability to perform specific job functions. A job offer may be conditioned on the results of a medical examination, but only if the examination is required for all entering employees in similar jobs. Medical examinations of employees must be job related and consistent with the employer’s business needs.  Medical records are confidential. The basic rule is that with limited exceptions, employers must keep confidential any medical information they learn about an applicant or employee. Information can be confidential even if it contains no medical diagnosis or treatment course and even if it is not generated by a health care professional. For example, an employee’s request for a reasonable accommodation would be considered medical information subject to the ADA’s confidentiality requirements.
  • Drug and Alcohol Abuse
    Employees and applicants currently engaging in the illegal use of drugs are not covered by the ADA when an employer acts on the basis of such use. Tests for illegal drugs are not subject to the ADA’s restrictions on medical examinations. Employers may hold illegal drug users and alcoholics to the same performance standards as other employees.

It is also unlawful to retaliate against an individual for opposing employment practices that discriminate based on disability or for filing a discrimination charge, testifying, or participating in any way in an investigation, proceeding, or litigation under the ADA.

Courtesy the Job Accommodation Network (JAN).  For more information, go to: https://askjan.org/

 

Why does the ADA matter?

To ensure equitable access and opportunities for all.  The ADA has led to the removal of many architectural barriers, more accessible facilities and public transportation, made it illegal to discriminate against people with disabilities in employment, provided an increasingly accessible Internet and ensured more equitable delivery of health care, for just a few.  Fairmont State University is committed to ensuring compliance with the letter and spirit of the ADA.

 

Who is responsible for making certain our institution complies with the ADA?

In regard to employees, applicants and visitors, every manager and supervisor should be aware of the ADA and its provisions.  The Human Resources Office, which is the institution’s AA/EO office, is responsible for ensuring compliance with the ADA and for reviewing accommodation requests for applicants and employees.  The AVP for Human Resources serves as the institution’s ADA Coordinator.  Employee and visitor inquiries regarding employment, accommodations, discrimination or harassment based upon disability should be referred to:

Cynthia S. Curry, CCP, SPHR, SHRM-SCP
AVP for Human Resources and Title IX Coordinator
324 Hardway Hall
Fairmont State University
1201 Locust Avenue
Fairmont, WV  26554
Phone: (304) 367-4386
Email: cindy.curry@fairmontstate.edu
 

The ADA Coordinator facilitates employment accommodations at Fairmont State. The University follows the guidelines of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, GINA, and current case law. This process is designed to assure that reasonable accommodations are provided as required by law.  Consultation on disability-related issues is available and encouraged.

 

How Do I Request an Accommodation?

Applicants for job opportunities may contact the ADA Coordinator (student ADA concerns are handled by the student ADA Coordinator in the Turley Student Service Center).  Employees and their managers/supervisors may also consult with the Coordinator or may find and complete the forms to submit an accommodation request at the Forms Repository under “Human Resources Forms ADA Accommodation Requests - Reasonable Accommodation Request for Employees."

 

How Do I File a Concern or Complaint?

With the employee/applicant/visitor ADA Coordinator in Human Resources.  Call 304.367.4386 or complete the complaint form, which can be found at the Forms Repository under “Human Resources Forms ADA Complaint Form."

If you do not wish to send your concern to the on-campus ADA Coordinator, you may directly contact Bottom of Form

The U.S. Department of Justice, which regulates and enforces key mandates of the Americans with Disabilities Act.  They have an online form for filing complaints electronically under the law https://www.ada.gov/complaint/.  Or to receive a paper ADA complaint form by mail, contact The U.S. Department of Justice at (800) 514-0301 (voice) or (800) 514-0383 (TTY).

 

CONTACT INFORMATION:

Cynthia S. Curry, CCP, SPHR, SHRM-SCP
AVP for Human Resources and Title IX Coordinator
324 Hardway Hall
Fairmont State University
1201 Locust Avenue
Fairmont, WV  26554
Phone: (304) 367-4386
Email: cindy.curry@fairmontstate.edu
Web: http://www.fairmontstate.edu/adminfiscalaffairs/human-resources

 

Fairmont State University,   is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer and complies with all applicable federal and state laws regarding nondiscrimination and affirmative action and prohibits discrimination in employment, educational programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin or ancestry, age, marital status, parental status, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, disability, religion, height, weight, or veteran status.  To provide an inclusive and welcoming environment for all members of our community and to ensure that educational and employment decisions are based on individuals’ abilities and qualifications, Fairmont State University affirms our commitment to providing equal opportunities and equal access to institutional facilities.  Inquiries or complaints may be addressed to the Director of Affirmative Action and Title IX/Section 504 Coordinator, 324 Hardway Hall, at 304.367.4386, or to hr@fairmontstate.edu.