Persons with Disabilities
- Here are some ways you can help…
- Here are some ways we can help…
- If You Have a Complaint…
- What about students …
- What about accessibility…
- What About Parking Accessibility…
- What About Visitors Accessibility…
- Important facts about the Americans with Disabilities Act…
- Frequently asked Questions…
Know your rights and responsibilities:
As a person with a disability, you have a right to equal access to programs, services, jobs, and facilities offered through the University; an equal opportunity to work and to receive reasonable accommodations, and/or auxiliary aids and services; appropriate confidentiality of all information regarding your disability; and information reasonably available in accessible formats.
With rights come responsibilities. You have the responsibility to meet and maintain qualifications for programs, services, jobs and facilities; identify yourself as an individual with a disability when an accommodation is needed and seek information, counsel, and assistance as necessary; document from an appropriate professional how your disability limits your participation in programs, services, jobs, and facilities; follow published procedures for obtaining reasonable accommodations; identify essential functions, abilities, skills, and knowledge for programs, services, jobs, and facilities and to evaluate staff on this basis.
Know the University's Rights and Responsibilities
The University of Louisville has the right to request and receive current documentation that supports requests for accommodations, and/or auxiliary aids and services; deny a request for accommodations if the request is not warranted, or if you fail to provide appropriate documentation; select among equally effective accommodations; and refuse an unreasonable accommodation that would impose an alteration of a job or program.
The University has the responsibility to provide information to staff, and visitors with disabilities in accessible formats upon request; ensure that jobs, programs, services, and facilities are available and accessible; evaluate staff and applicants on their abilities and not their disabilities; provide reasonable accommodations for staff and visitors with disabilities in jobs, programs, services, and facilities; and to maintain confidentiality of records and communication, except where permitted or required by law.
Employees who need information or reasonable accommodations to perform the essential duties of their jobs or to participate in any University sponsored program should contact the Staff Development and Employee Relations office at 852-6536 or 852-6538 or contact the federal Job Accommodation Network 1-800-526-7234 or askjan.org.
Formal Complaint Procedure
The University has a continuing responsibility to monitor and address ADA compliance issues. Complaints should follow the procedure as indicated.
The following internal procedure provides for prompt and equitable resolution of complaints. Complaints should be directed to Staff Development and Employee Relations, Human Resources, 1980 Arthur Street, 40208-2770, (502)852-6536 or 852-6538.
- A complaint should be filed in writing, contain the name and address of the person filing it, and briefly describe the alleged violation. Upon receipt of the written notice of complaint, the Director of Staff Development and Employee Relations or his/her designee shall acknowledge receipt within five workdays.
- A complaint should be filed within 180 days after the complainant becomes aware of the alleged violation.
- An investigation, as may be appropriate, shall follow a filing of complaint. The Staff Development and Employee Relations office shall conduct the investigation. This internal complaint procedure involves an informal but thorough investigation, affording all interested persons and their representatives, if any, an opportunity to submit evidence relevant to a complaint.
- A written determination as to the validity of the complaint and a description of the resolution, if any, shall be issued by the Staff Development and Employee Relations Office and a copy forwarded to the complainant.
- The Staff Development and Employee Relations Office shall maintain the files and records relating to the complaints filed.
- The complainant can request a reconsideration of the case in instances where the person is dissatisfied with the resolution. The request for reconsideration should be made within 15 workdays to the Staff Development and Employee Relations Office.
- The right of a person to a prompt and equitable resolution of the complaint filed hereunder shall not be impaired by the person's pursuit of other remedies such as the filing of a discrimination complaint with the responsible federal department or agency. Use of this complaint procedure is not a prerequisite to the pursuit of other remedies.
These rules shall be construed to protect the substantive rights of interested persons to meet appropriate due process standards, and to assure that the University complies with the ADA and implementing regulations.
Students with Disabilities
There are over 500 students with disabilities on the campus that represent a broad range of interests, skills, majors, and extracurricular activities. The mission of the Disability Resource Center (DRC) is to coordinate services to ensure that students with disabilities have equal access to take full advantage of the University's educational, social, and cultural opportunities. The DRC is located in Stevenson Hall, room 119. They may be contacted at (502) 852-6938 or visit their web page http://louisville.edu/disability/for information on student services and information of interest to faculty. Students requesting general information regarding ADA should contact:
Cathy Patus, Director Disability Resource Center, Stevenson Hall, Room 119 (502)852-6938
The procedure for students is the same as for employees and provides for the prompt and equitable resolution of complaints. The procedure is described above and complaints should be directed to Staff Development and Employee Relations, Human Resources, 1980 Arthur Street, (502)852-6536 or (502) 852-6538.
Accessibility of Campus by Employees
The University of Louisville offers programs on three campuses: Belknap, Shelby and Health Sciences. All campuses are relatively level and have conveniently located sidewalks, curb cuts, and accessible parking. Most buildings are equipped with ramps, elevators, and adapted restrooms. Many buildings have automatic entrance doors. The University continues its long-range plan to upgrade and improve campus accessibility. Campus accessibility maps for Belknap, Health Sciences, and Shelby campuses are available from the Visitor Information Center (852-6565), and the Parking Division of the Department of Public Safety (852-PARK). The maps are designed to assist individuals with mobility impairments to plan travel routes and effectively utilize campus facilities. A tactile/Braille map is planned to help orient individuals with visual impairments to campus. Campus accessibility features may also be identified at the Center for Geographic Information Systems.
Accessible parking permits are available to qualified staff. Visit the Department of Public Safety, Parking Division web page for specific information on how to apply for a permit.
A University of Louisville handicap permit is required to park in designated handicap spaces at the University. Individuals with mobility impairment should contact the Parking Office at 852-7275 for specific parking information. A verification of disability is required before obtaining a University of Louisville disabled Parking Permit. The Parking Office must initiate a letter for verification.
There are Handicap Parking spaces on each campus.
Accessibility of Programs and Services by Visitors
The University of Louisville is committed to providing access for individuals with disabilities to programs that are open to the public. Institutional departments that offer programs or events that are open to the public must publish information available to participants with disabilities informing them to request in advance any accommodations needed to allow them to attend or fully participate. Public events and programs include, for example, non-credit courses, public lectures and cultural events, graduation ceremonies, and athletic competitions. Brochures, registration forms, press releases, and posters announcing public programs and events should include the following statement:
"Please indicate if you need any special services, assistance, or accommodations to participate in this program by contacting (name of sponsoring department) at (phone number of department or program) by (date)."
Any qualified individual should give reasonable advance notice of needing an accommodation. However, any reasonable requests should be responded to with the goal of providing access to, and participation in, University of Louisville programs.
The host department or office must designate a person(s) to be responsible for handling requests for accommodation as the designated campus contact for the program or event.
The institutional department or office sponsoring the event must take into account the need to pay for reasonable accommodations that may be requested by the public.
Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, which took effect July 26, 1992, 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. An individual with a disability is a person who:
- Has a physical or mental impairment that materially restricts one or more major life activities;
- Has a record of such impairment; or
- Is regarded as having such 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 useable 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 an accommodation to the known disability of a qualified applicant or employee if it would not impose an "undue hardship" on the operation of the employer's business. 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.
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) a person is protected from discrimination in employment if he or she is a qualified individual with a disability, able to perform the essential functions of a job with or without reasonable accommodations.
- Qualified individual - the person with a disability meets the same essential qualifications as any candidate for a position.
- Disability - the disability or condition significantly or materially impacts a major life activity (i.e., seeing, hearing, walking, caring for oneself, learning, breathing, working). In cases where working is the life activity, the condition not only affects the person's specific job but all jobs in that class.
- Essential functions - the disabled employee is expected to perform all essential functions of the job at the same performance standards as his or her non-disabled coworkers.
- Reasonable accommodations - a reasonable accommodation is a modification to a task, job structure, or workplace that allows the qualified employee with a disability to do the job.
- What employers are covered by the ADA, and when is the coverage effective? The employment provisions of Title I of the ADA apply to private employers, state and local governments, employment agencies, and labor unions. Employers with 25 or more employees were covered starting July 26,1992, when Title I went into effect. Employers with 15 or more employees were covered two years later, beginning July 26, 1994.
- What practices and activities are covered by the employment nondiscrimination requirements? The ADA prohibits discrimination in all employment practices, including job application procedures, hiring, firing, advancement, compensation, training, and other terms, conditions, and privileges of employment. It applies to recruitment, advertising, tenure, layoff, leave, fringe benefits, and all other employment-related activities.
- Who is protected against employment discrimination? Employment discrimination is prohibited against "qualified individuals with disabilities." Persons discriminated against because they have a known association or relationship with a disabled individual are also protected. The ADA defines an "individual with a disability" as 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. The first part of the definition makes clear that the ADA applies to persons who have substantial, as distinct from minor impairments, and that these must be impairments that limit major life activities such as seeing, hearing, speaking, walking, breathing, performing manual tasks, learning, caring for oneself, and working. An individual with epilepsy, paralysis, a substantial hearing or visual impairment, mental retardation, or a learning disability would be covered, but an individual with a minor, non-chronic condition of short duration, such as a sprain, infection, or broken limb, generally would not be covered. The second part of the definition would include, for example, a person with a history of cancer that is currently in remission or a person with a history of mental illness. The third part of the definition protects individuals who are regarded and treated as though they have a substantially limiting disability, even though they may not have such an impairment. For example, this provision would protect a severely disfigured qualified individual from being denied employment because an employer feared the "negative reactions" of others.
- Who is a "qualified individual with a disability?" A qualified individual with a disability is a person who meets legitimate skill, experience, education, or other requirements of an employment position that he or she holds or seeks, and who can perform the "essential functions" of the position with or without reasonable accommodation. Requiring the ability to perform "essential" functions assures that an individual will not be considered unqualified simply because of inability to perform marginal or incidental job functions. If the individual is qualified to perform essential job functions except for limitations caused by a disability, the employer must consider whether the individual could perform these functions with a reasonable accommodation. If a written job description has been prepared in advance of advertising or interviewing applicants for a job, this will be considered as evidence, although not necessarily conclusive evidence, of the essential functions of the job.
- Does an employer have to give preference to a qualified applicant with a disability over other applicants? No. An employer is free to select the most qualified applicant available and to make decisions based on reasons unrelated to the existence or consequence of a disability. For example, if two persons apply for a job opening as a typist, one a person with a disability who accurately types 50 words per minute, the other a person without a disability who accurately types 75 words per minute, the employer may hire the applicant with the higher typing speed, if typing speed is needed for successful performance of the job.
- What kinds of actions are required to reasonably accommodate applicants and employees? Examples of reasonable accommodation include making existing facilities used by employees readily accessible to and usable by an individual with a disability; restructuring a job; modifying work schedules; acquiring or modifying equipment; providing qualified readers or interpreters; or appropriately modifying examinations, training, or other programs. Reasonable accommodation also may include reassigning a current employee to a vacant position for which the individual is qualified, if the person becomes disabled and is unable to do the original job. However, there is no obligation to find a position for an applicant who is not qualified for the position sought. Employers are not required to lower quality or quantity standards in order to make an accommodation, nor are they obligated to provide personal use items such as glasses or hearing aids. The decision as to the appropriate accommodation must be based on the particular facts of each case. In selecting the particular type of reasonable accommodation to provide, the principal test is that of effectiveness, i.e., whether the accommodation will enable the person with a disability to do the job in question.
- Must employers be familiar with the many diverse types of disabilities to know whether or how to make a reasonable accommodation? No. An employer is required to accommodate only a "known" disability of a qualified applicant or employee. The requirement generally will be triggered by a request from an individual with a disability, who frequently can suggest an appropriate accommodation. Accommodations must be made on an individual basis, because the nature and extent of a disabling condition and the requirements of the job will vary in each case. If the individual does not request an accommodation, the employer is not obligated to provide one. If a disabled person requests, but cannot suggest, an appropriate accommodation, the employer and the individual should work together to identify one. There are also many public and private resources that can provide assistance without cost.
- What is "reasonable accommodation?" Reasonable accommodation is a modification or an adjustment to a job or the work environment that will enable a qualified applicant or employee with a disability to participate in the application process or to perform essential job functions. Reasonable accommodation also includes adjustments to assure that a qualified individual with a disability has rights and privileges in employment equal to those of non-disabled employees.
- What are the limitations on the obligation to make a reasonable accommodation? The disabled individual requiring the accommodation must be otherwise qualified, and the employer must know the disability. In addition, an employer is not required to make an accommodation if it would impose an "undue hardship" on the operation of the employer's business. "Undue hardship" is defined as "an action requiring significant difficulty or expense" when considered in light of a number of factors. These factors include the nature and cost of the accommodation in relation to the size, resources, nature, and structure of the employer's operation. Where the facility making the accommodation is part of a larger entity, the structure and overall resources of the larger organization would be considered, as well as the financial and administrative relationship of the facility to the larger organization. In general, a larger employer would be expected to make accommodations requiring greater effort or expense than would be required of a smaller employer.
- Must an employer modify existing facilities to make them accessible? An employer may be required to modify facilities to enable an individual to perform essential job functions and to have equal opportunity to participate in other employment-related activities. For example, if an employee lounge is located in a place inaccessible to a person using a wheelchair, the lounge might be modified or relocated, or comparable facilities might be provided in a location that would enable the individual to take a break with co-workers.
- May an employer inquire as to whether a prospective employee is disabled? An employer may not make a pre-employment inquiry on an application form or in an interview as to whether, or to what extent, an individual is disabled. The employer may ask a job applicant whether he or she can perform particular job functions. If the applicant has a disability known to the employer, the employer may ask how he or she can perform job functions that the employer considers difficult or impossible to perform because of the disability, and whether an accommodation would be needed. A job offer may be conditioned on the results of a medical examination, provided that the examination is required for all entering employees in the same job category regardless of disability, and that information obtained is handled according to confidentiality requirements specified in the Act. After an employee enters on duty, all medical examinations and inquiries must be job related and necessary for the conduct of the employer's business. These provisions of the law are intended to prevent the employer from basing hiring and employment decisions on unfounded assumptions about the effects of a disability.
- Does the ADA take safety issues into account? Yes. The ADA expressly permits employers to establish qualification standards that will exclude individuals, who pose a direct threat - i.e., a significant risk of substantial harm - to the health or safety of the individual or of others, if that risk cannot be lowered to an acceptable level by reasonable accommodation. However, an employer may not simply assume that a threat exists; the employer must establish through objective, medically supportable methods that there is a genuine risk that substantial harm could occur in the workplace. By requiring employers to make individualized judgments based on reliable medical or other objective evidence rather than on generalizations, ignorance, fear, patronizing attitudes, or stereotypes, the ADA recognizes the need to balance the interests of people with disabilities against the legitimate interests of employers in maintaining a safe workplace.
- Can an employer refuse to hire an applicant or fire a current employee who is illegally using drugs? Yes. Individuals who currently engage in the illegal use of drugs are specifically excluded from the definition of a "qualified individual with a disability" protected by the ADA when an action is taken on the basis of their drug use.
- Is testing for illegal drugs permissible under the ADA? Yes. A test for illegal drugs is not considered a medical examination under the ADA; therefore, employers may conduct such testing of applicants or employees and make employment decisions based on the results. The ADA does not encourage, prohibit, or authorize drug tests.
- Are people with AIDS covered by the ADA? Yes. The legislative history indicates that Congress intended the ADA to protect persons with AIDS and HIV disease from discrimination.
- How does the ADA recognize public health concerns? No provision in the ADA is intended to supplant the role of public health authorities in protecting the community from legitimate health threats. The ADA recognizes the need to strike a balance between the right of a disabled person to be free from discrimination based on unfounded fear and the right of the public to be protected.
- What is discrimination based on "relationship or association?" The ADA prohibits discrimination based on relationship or association in order to protect individuals from actions based on unfounded assumptions that their relationship to a person with a disability would affect their job performance, and from actions caused by bias or misinformation concerning certain disabilities. For example, this provision would protect a person with a disabled spouse from being denied employment because of an employer's unfounded assumption that the applicant would use excessive leave to care for the spouse. It also would protect an individual who does volunteer work for people with AIDS from a discriminatory employment action motivated by that relationship or association.