Laws

    Discrimination & Harassment - Complaint & Investigation Procedure : P-080

    Disability Policies, Procedures, and Grievance Process

     

    1. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
      "No otherwise qualified person with a disability in the United States...shall, solely by reason of...disability, be denied the benefits of, be excluded from participation in, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance."
      • a person with a disability...
        "any person who (1) has a physical or mental impairment which limits one or more major life activities, (2) has record of such an impairment, or (3) is regarded as having such an impairment."
      • a "qualified person with a disability"...
        "who meets the academic and technical standards requisite to admission or participation in the education program or activity."
      Significance...
      Student: A student must meet the university's qualifications for entry in order to be considered otherwise qualified. The student is obligated to self-identify the disability and the needed accommodations. For Tennessee Tech's Office of Disability Services, the student is required to provide appropriate recent documentation.
      University: The university must provide the student reasonable accommodations that allow an equal opportunity to participate in the institution's programs, activities and services.
      Faculty and Staff: Faculty and staff have the responsibility to cooperate with the Office of Disability Services in providing the appropriate accommodations in a timely and reasonable manner.
      Faculty and Staff should be aware that there is personal liability. If a faculty member fails to provide an accommodation to a student with a documented disability, that member may be held personally liable.
    2. Section 508
      In 1998, Congress amended the Rehabilitation Act to require federal agencies to make their electronic and information technology accessible to people with disabilities. Inaccessible technology interferes with an individual's ability to obtain and use information quickly and easily.
    3. Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
      Prohibits discrimination and ensures equal opportunity for persons with disabilities in employment, state and local government services, public accommodations, commercial facilities, and transportation. The ADA requires that reasonable accommodations be provided in meeting the needs of individuals with disabilities. These accommodations apply to employment, public services, transportation, and public accommodation, regardless of whatever federal funds are received.
    4. Confidentiality
      Faculty/staff do not have the right to access diagnostic information regarding a student's disability. Faculty/staff need only know the accommodations that are necessary to provide equal opportunity to a student. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) do not allow faculty to access disability related information. Disclosure of any further information only occurs with the student's written permission.
      Faculty/staff members need to be aware that confidentiality also protects a student from identification to others. A faculty/staff member should never identify a student as having a disability to other faculty/staff members, as well as students. A faculty/staff member does not need to provide explanation to other students for a student that may use a computer in class or take a test outside class time. Refraining from giving explanations is a safeguard for confidentiality.