Disability Frequently Asked Questions
What is Michigan Tech’s policy on protections for persons with disabilities?
Michigan Technological University supports the rights of all persons, including those with disabilities. If you have a question about equal opportunity for persons with disabilities, including requests for reasonable accommodation, please contact Institutional Equity and Inclusion.
What is the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)?
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) gives civil rights protection to individuals with disabilities. It guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in public accommodations, employment, transportation and government services.
What is the purpose of the ADA?
If you are a qualified person with a disability, the ADA protects you from discrimination and requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for employees.
What does “qualified” mean?
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.
Who is a “person with a disability”?
A person with a disability under the ADA is a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, has a record of such impairment or is regarded as having such impairment.
What is a “major life activity” under the ADA?
Examples of major life activities listed in the ADA regulations include, but are not limited to, caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, working, sitting, standing, lifting, and mental and emotional processes such as thinking, concentrating, and interacting with others.
A major life activity also includes the operation of a major bodily function, included but not limited to, functions of the immune system, normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, and reproductive functions.
What is a reasonable accommodation?
A reasonable accommodation is any change or adjustment in the workplace that permits a qualified person with a disability apply for a job, perform the essential functions of a job, or enjoy the benefits and privileges of employment. An employer is required to make a reasonable 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.
What resources are available?
Where can I request an accommodation or get more information?
If you are a student in need of more information on disabilities or academic accommodations at Michigan Technological University, contact the Coordinator for Student Disability Services at (906) 487-1494 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are an employee or visitor in need of more information on disabilities or a reasonable accommodation, contact Institutional Equity and Inclusion at (906) 487-3310 or email: email@example.com.
How do I submit a grievance related to the ADA?
If you believe you have been denied the benefits of any University service, program or activity due to your disability, you may contact the ADA Coordinator in Institutional Equity and Inclusion by phone at (906) 487-3310, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or in person at 308 Administration Building. View Grievance Procedures.
What if co-workers ask questions?
What do you say when you are approached by other employees about the accommodation provided? One employee's reasonable accommodation looks like "special treatment" to other workers. How do you maintain morale without violating the confidentiality provisions of the ADA?
It is imperative that managers be trained about how to respond to such questions because it is reasonable to assume they may be asked questions by an employee's co-workers where the accommodation involves modification of a work schedule or dress code, or any other change in the workplace that a co-worker may perceive as holding the employee with a disability to a different performance or conduct standard. Employers already keep many types of information confidential despite inquiries from the workers, such as personnel decisions like the reason an employee left a job or was transferred. This situation should be treated in a similar fashion. An employer could respond that she does not discuss one employee's situation with in another in order to protect the privacy of all employees, but she could assure the co-worker that the employee is meeting the employer's work requirements. Also, the employer could explain that she is acting for legitimate business reasons or in compliance with federal law.
Disability Inclusion starts With You
Voluntarily self-identifying is a good thing — it's how things change. This video explains why companies doing business with the federal government ask job applicants and employees to voluntarily self-identify if they have a disability, and the important role that self-identifying plays in ensuring equal employment opportunity for people with disabilities.