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Qualified Individuals

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to any qualified individual with a disability. This includes patients, visitors, students, faculty, staff, and applicants.


What is considered a “disability”?

The determination of whether an individual has a disability under the ADA is made on a case-by-case basis.

Under applicable disability laws, 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.
    • Where an individual is “regarded as” having a disability, the individual may not be able to request an accommodation under the ADA. An individual is entitled to reasonable accommodations where they demonstrate an “actual disability” or “record of” a disability under the first two categories.

Who is a qualified individual?

The University’s responsibility to provide reasonable accommodations only applies to “qualified” individuals with disabilities.

To be considered “qualified” under the ADA, the individual must be someone who:

  • Satisfies the skill, experience, education and other job-related requirements of the program or employment position
  • Performs the essential functions of the position or program, with or without a reasonable accommodation

What is an essential function?

Essential job functions are the necessary job duties that a faculty or staff member is expected to perform in their role at the University. Removing any of them would result in a fundamental change to the position. Essential functions might also change over the course of employment as well.

Any non-essential job functions are considered “marginal functions.” These duties may be marginal due to the fact that they are not performed as often or are not critical to the reason the job exists. While the University need not remove essential functions as an accommodation, marginal functions may be altered, removed or assigned to another individual as a potential accommodation.