With Disabilities Act:
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the campus policy on protections for persons with disabilities?
- What is the Americans With Disabilities Act?
- What is the purpose of the ADA?
- Who is "a person with a disability"?
- What is a “major life activity” under the law?
- What does "qualified" mean?
- What is a reasonable accommodation?
- What resources are available?
- What should departments do when hosting a public event?
- Where can I get help?
The University of Michigan does not discriminate on the basis of disability in its programs, services and activities.
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute which provides civil rights protection to individuals with disabilities in the areas of employment, public accommodations, State and local government services, and telecommunications. The ADA was designed to remove barriers which prevent qualified individuals with disabilities from enjoying the same opportunities that are available to persons without disabilities. Similar protections are provided by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and by the Michigan Persons with Disabilities Civil Rights Act.
The ADA provides that no qualified individual with a disability shall, on the basis of disability, be excluded from participation in or be denied the benefits of the services, programs, or activities of the University of Michigan.
Under the ADA, an individual with a disability is a person who has: a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; a record of such an impairment; or is regarded as having such an impairment. Temporary, non-chronic impairments that do not last for a long time and that have little or no long term impact usually are not disabilities. The determination of whether an impairment is a disability is made on a case-by-case basis.
To be considered a person with a disability under the ADA, the impairment must substantially limit one or more major life activities. Examples of major life activities include walking, speaking, breathing, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, learning, caring for oneself and working.
To be protected by the ADA, a person must not only be an individual with a disability, but must be qualified. For University employees, a qualified individual with a disability is a person who satisfies the requisite skill, experience, education and other job-related requirements of the employment position and who, with or without a reasonable accommodation, can perform the essential functions of a position. For students, a qualified individual with a disability is a person who, with or without reasonable modifications to rules, policies or practices, the removal of architectural, communication or transportation barriers, or the provision of auxiliary aids or services, meets the essential eligibility requirements for the receipt of services or the participation in programs or activities provided by the University.
A reasonable accommodation is any modification or adjustment to a job, an employment practice, or the work environment that makes its possible for a qualified individual with a disability to enjoy an equal employment opportunity. The University shall provide a reasonable accommodation to the known disability of a qualified applicant or employee with a disability unless the accommodation would impose an undue hardship. Examples of reasonable accommodations include, but are not limited to:
- job restructuring
- modified work schedules
- obtaining or modifying equipment or devices
- modifying examinations, training materials or policies
- providing qualified readers and interpreters
- making facilities readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities
A reasonable accommodation is a reasonable modification in policies, practices, or procedures when the modifications are necessary to avoid discrimination on the basis of disability, unless the modifications would fundamentally alter the nature of a University service, program or activity. Examples of reasonable accommodations include, but are not limited to:
- note taking services
- text conversion to alternative accessible formats
- audio and video tapes
- qualified interpreter services
- adjusting time limits on tests
- making facilities and/or programs readily accessible to and useable by individuals with disabilities
The University is obligated to make a reasonable accommodation only to the known disability of an otherwise qualified employee or student. In general, it is the responsibility of the employee or student to make their disability status and subsequent need for an accommodation known to the appropriate University official.
Once on notice for the need for accommodations, it is the responsibility of the University official and the individual with a disability to engage in dialogue to identify possible accommodations and assess the reasonableness and effectiveness of each potential accommodation. Determinations regarding accommodations on campus will be made on a case-by-case basis. Determining a reasonable accommodation is very fact-specific. In general, it must be tailored to address the nature of the disability and the needs of the individual within the context of the requirements of the job or the program of study. If there are two or more possible accommodations, and one costs more or is more burdensome than the other, the University will give primary consideration to the preference of the individual with a disability. However, the University may choose the less expensive or burdensome accommodation as long as it is effective.
- If you are a supervisor: Requests for information or assistance regarding your responsibility as a supervisor to make a reasonable accommodation for an employee or applicant may be addressed to the Office of Institutional Equity. In addition, campus human resource representatives can consult with units on their responsibilities under the law.
- If you are a professor or teaching assistant: The Office of Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) has developed a manual called The Faculty Handbook which offers guidance to faculty and teaching assistants on making appropriate accommodations to students with disabilities. The guide is available from the SSD office or on the SSD homepage at: http://www.umich.edu/~sswd/
- If you are a student with a disability: SSD also coordinates the planning and implementation of support services for students needing reasonable accommodations.
- If you are an employee with a disability: Qualified individuals with disabilities may seek reasonable accommodations in consultation with supervisors or department heads and managers.
- If you
are an applicant for employment: You may request a reasonable
accommodation during the hiring process by contacting the relevant unit
or department on campus or by contacting HR/AA Recruitment &
The sponsoring department is responsible for ensuring that events are open to all members of the public. This means conducting events in accessible locations and may mean providing sign-language interpreters, printed material in Braille, or alternative formats such as audio recordings if requested in advance. Departments should include an accommodation statement in publications inviting participation in University-sponsored events. For additional information regarding this section, contact the Office of Institutional Equity.
The campus-wide ADA Coordinator in the Office of Institutional Equity may be contacted to help determine which of the offices below would be helpful in a particular case, based on the circumstances and your status as a student, faculty member, or staff employee.
(Note: these links will take user to another Website)
Staff HR Services
2005 Wolverine Tower
3003 South State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1281
(734) 763-2387 (voice)
University of Michigan - Dearborn
Counseling and Disability Services
2157 University Center
4901 Evergreen Rd, 2157 UC
Dearborn, MI, 48128-1491
Phone: (313) 593-5430
Fax: (313) 593-3263
University of Michigan - Flint
264 University Center
Flint, MI 48502
Phone: (810) 762-3456
TTY: (810) 766-6727
Fax: (810) 762-3498
Michigan Health System Human Resources
North Campus Administrative Complex
2901 Hubbard, Suite 1100
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2435
Office of Institutional Equity
2072 Administrative Services Building
1009 Greene Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1432
(734) 763-0235 (voice) 647-1388 (TTY)
Office of Services for Students with Disabilities
G664 Haven Hall
505 South State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1045
(734) 763-3000 (voice) 615-6921 (TTY)
Council for Disability Concerns
c/o Office of Institutional Equity
2072 Administrative Services Building
1009 Greene Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1432