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The American's with Disabilities Act

The American's with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal civil rights law that was passed in 1990 and went into effect in 1992. Its purpose is to protect people with disabilities from discrimination. Title I of the ADA prohibits discrimination in employment and requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified employees with disabilities.

Due to the varying nature and extent of a disabling condition and differences in each individual's position, accommodations are made on a case-by-case basis. When a "qualified individual" with a disability requests an accommodation for a disability that is not obvious, the University will make a good faith effort to provide an accommodation that is effective for the individual and reasonable for the operational requirements of the employee's College or Department.

For more information review policy number 39: Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is a "qualified individual" with a disability under the ADA?

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. 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 you are a "qualified individual" with a disability, as defined above, and require an accommodation to complete the essential functions of your position, please complete the online accommodation request form to begin an interactive discussion with you and your department to determine the type of accommodation(s) you may need to help you perform them.

Employee Request for Reasonable Accommodation Online Form

*Please note that you will need your NSU credentials (NSU username and password) to access the online form. 

What is a reasonable accommodation under the ADA?
A reasonable accommodation is a modification or an adjustment to a job or the work environment that will enable a qualified individual with a disability to perform their essential job functions. Reasonable accommodations also include adjustments to assure that a qualified individual with a disability has rights and privileges in employment equal to those of nondisabled employees.
Can NSU ask for medical documentation if I request an accommodation?

Yes, under the ADA employers are permitted to require an employee to provide documentation that is sufficient to substantiate an ADA disability and endure the reasonable accommodation being requested is necessary.  

Documentation is sufficient if it:
  • Describes the nature, severity, and duration of the impairment
  • The activity or activities limited by the impairment
  • The extent to which the impairment limits the ability to perform the activity or activities
  • Substantiates why the stated accommodation is needed
Documentation is insufficient if it:
  • Does not validate the existence an ADA disability
  • Does not explain the need for a reasonable accommodation

Documentation also might be insufficient if the submitting healthcare professional does not have the medical expertise to provide an opinion regarding the employee's medical condition, does not specify functional limitations due to disability, or if there is an indication that the information provided is not credible or fraudulent.

If an employee does not provide sufficient documentation, an employer does not have to provide reasonable accommodation until sufficient documentation is provided.

How does NSU determine when an accommodation is necessary?

Employers are required to accommodate only a "known" disability of a "qualified individual". If an accommodation is not requested by an employee without a "known disability", then NSU is not obligated to provide one. 

Accommodations are generally triggered by a request from an individual with a disability. Each accommodation request is then reviewed on an individual basis. Due to the varying nature and extent of each individual's disabling condition, accommodations are made on a case-by-case basis and may differ from the individual's original accommodation request.

Does NSU have to accommodate every request received under the ADA?

Employers are 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.

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