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. This is done in accordance with the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), and as detailed in the University of Kentucky Affirmative Action Plan.
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 Kentucky.
Disability discrimination can occur whenever a qualified individual with a disability is denied the same equal opportunities as other university students, faculty and staff because of their disability status.
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. 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.
The University is dedicated to providing reasonable accommodation to qualified students, employees, and all those with disabilities participating in its programs and services. The University of Kentucky's Strategic Plan outlines a commitment to a diverse workplace and learning community, a distinguished faculty and staff, and an increasingly higher caliber of student. This dream drives the challenge of providing quality educational and occupational opportunities for everyone, especially qualified individuals with disabilities. The University is dedicated to providing reasonable accommodation to qualified students, employees, and all those with disabilities participating in its programs and services.
What is a “major life activity” under the law?
To be considered a person with a disability, 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 and caring for oneself.
What does “qualified” mean?
To be protected, a person must not only be an individual with a disability, but must be qualified. 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 requirements for the receipt of services or participation in programs or activities provided by the university.
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 the position.
What is a reasonable accommodation?
For University Students
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.
If you are a UK student and need reasonable accommodation, you should contact the Disability Resource Center (DRC). Associate Dean of Students and Director, David Beach, and the DRC staff are available to answer questions, review medical documentation, and arrange services for all qualified students admitted to the University of Kentucky.
Disability Resource Center
725 Rose Street, Multidisciplinary Science Building, Suite 407
Lexington, KY 40536-0082
For University employees
A reasonable accommodation is a modification or adjustment to a job, employment practice, or the work environment that makes it possible for a qualified individual with a disability to enjoy an equal employment opportunity. The university will 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.
If you are a qualified UK Faculty member or staff employee with a disability you may request reasonable accommodation from your supervisor, chair, dean, or the Office of Institutional Equity and Equal Opportunity by completing a Reasonable Accommodation Form. The form can also be found on the UK Forms Page under ADA Accommodation Request Form. You may also contact the office:
Office of Institutional Equity and Equal Opportunity
13 Main Building
Lexington, KY 40506-0032
Applicants for Employment
If you are interested in employment opportunities at the University of Kentucky and require reasonable accommodation during the application process, contact Human Resources at (859) 257-9555.
When and how does the University provide reasonable accommodations?
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 the disability status and subsequent need for an accommodation known to the appropriate university official.
Once on notice of the need for accommodations, it is the responsibility of the university official and the individual with a disability to discuss 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, the accommodation 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.
Service Animals and the ADA
Service animals are defined as dogs that are individually training to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. Service animals are working animals, not pets. The work or task a dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability. Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA.
When it is not obvious what service an animal provides, only limited inquiries are allowed. Staff may ask two questions:
- is the dog a service animal required because of a disability, and
- what work or task has the dog been trained to perform. Staff cannot ask about the person’s disability, require medical documentation, require a special identification card or training documentation for the dog, or ask that the dog demonstrate its ability to perform the work or task.
Where to go for Help
If you have questions about your rights under the ADA, whether you are a qualified individual with a disability, or the documentation required to establish that status, you should contact the Office of Institutional Equity and Equal Opportunity. Individuals, supervisors, or an individual with their supervisor may schedule an appointment to determine eligibility and the reasonable, effective accommodation(s) that would enable the individual to successfully do the essential functions of their position.
Individuals requesting accommodation may be required to provide medical documentation regarding the disability and requested accommodation. Medical information provided, will be maintained in the Office of Institutional Equity and Equal Opportunity, separate from personnel files, and is strictly confidential. Only information related to the provision of reasonable accommodation or information necessary to address safety issues in the work setting will be released to supervisors.