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What Does The Disability Discrimination Act Do

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What Is Prohibited Under Section 504 And The Ada

What is disability discrimination? | Equality law: discrimination explained

Both Section 504 and the ADA prohibit covered entities from discriminating against persons with disabilities in the provision of benefits or services or the conduct of programs or activities on the basis of their disability.

Section 504 applies to programs or activities that receive Federal financial assistance. Title II of the ADA covers all of the services, programs, and activities conducted by public entities , including licensing.

Employment Laws: Disability& Discrimination

There are five important federal laws that protect individuals with disabilities from discrimination in employment and the job application process:

  • Americans with Disabilities Act
  • Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act
  • Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act
  • Civil Service Reform Act

Although many employers and individuals have a basic understanding of the ADA, the nondiscrimination policies of the other laws may be less familiar. Below is a short summary of each law and information on where employers can access additional information and compliance resources.

The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities and guarantees equal opportunities for individuals with disabilities in employment, transportation, public accommodations, state and local government services, and telecommunications. Two sections of the ADA relate to employment:

  • Title I: Employment prohibits covered employers from discriminating against people with disabilities in all employment-related activities, including hiring, pay, benefits, firing and promotions. Covered employers include private businesses, educational institutions, employment agencies, labor organizations, and state and local government entities with 15 or more employees.

Additional Information: OFCCP enforces VEVRAA. Compliance assistance information is available on OFCCP’s website.

Determining Which Laws Apply: A Checklist

If the employer is a private company that:

What Types Of Services Are Required By Section 504 And Title Ii For Students With Disabilities In Public Elementary And Secondary Schools

School districts are required to provide each student with a disability any special education and/or related aids and services necessary to ensure the student is receiving a free appropriate public education . Examples of aids and services a school district may be required to provide include physical therapy or speech language therapy.

In addition, a school district may need to modify the regular education program in order to provide FAPE. Examples of such modifications include additional time to take tests or a modification to a policy regarding the permitted number of absences in a school year when a student’s absences are due to a disability.

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What To Do If You Are Experiencing Discrimination

If you are being discriminated against, you should refer to your employers equality and diversity policy. It is good practice to try and resolve any problems with your employer informally in the first instance. You could arrange a meeting with your employer, inform them of the problems that you are experiencing and ask them to take appropriate action to resolve these problems. This may involve making a reasonable adjustment as recommended by occupational health. You could also check your workplace policy regarding reasonable adjustments. Also obtain your workplace policy which may include disability discrimination or bullying and harassment.

It is often the case that an informal discussion is all that is needed to get matters resolved satisfactorily.

When to contact us

You can contact us at any time for advice. However, if you are not successful in getting the situation resolved on an informal basis, or if you are considering a formal process such as a grievance, please contact us before taking any formal action. Please also contact us if you are subject to any other types of discrimination listed above or if you have been harassed or victimised because of your disability.

We have further advice guides on other types of discrimination and bullying and harassment.

What If My Employer Thinks The Accommodation Would Be Too Expensive


An employer is not required to make an accommodation for a known disability if it would impose an “undue hardship” on the employer’s business. Undue hardship is defined as an accommodation requiring “significant difficulty or expense.”

Some of the factors taken into account when analyzing whether there is an undue hardship include:

  • the nature and cost of the accommodation
  • the financial resources of the employer
  • the nature of the business , and
  • any accommodation costs already incurred in the workplace.

It is not easy for employers to prove that an accommodation is an undue hardship, as financial difficulty alone is not usually sufficient. Other sources of money for making accommodations may be available, including tax credits or deductions and vocational rehabilitation funds. The disabled employee’s willingness to pay for all or part of the costs also can be considered, although the disabled employee cannot be required to pay the costs of accommodation.

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Nondiscrimination On The Basis Of Disability By Public Accommodations And In Commercial Facilities

This title prohibits private places of public accommodation from discriminating against individuals with disabilities. Examples of public accommodations include privately-owned, leased or operated facilities like hotels, restaurants, retail merchants, doctors offices, golf courses, private schools, day care centers, health clubs, sports stadiums, movie theaters, and so on. This title sets the minimum standards for accessibility for alterations and new construction of facilities. It also requires public accommodations to remove barriers in existing buildings where it is easy to do so without much difficulty or expense. This title directs businesses to make “reasonable modifications” to their usual ways of doing things when serving people with disabilities. It also requires that they take steps necessary to communicate effectively with customers with vision, hearing, and speech disabilities. This title is regulated and enforced by the U.S. Department of Justice.

More information and events related to ADA Title III .

Circumstances When Being Treated Differently Due To Disability Is Lawful

Non-disabled people

It is always lawful to treat a disabled person more favourably than a non-disabled person.

Other disabled people

Treating a disabled person with a particular disability more favourably than other disabled people may be lawful in some circumstances. For example:

  • where having a particular disability is essential for the job . For example, an organisation supporting deaf people might require that an employee whose role is providing counselling to British Sign Language users is a deaf BSL user
  • where an organisation is taking positive action to encourage or develop people with a particular disability. For example, an employer is aware that people with learning disabilities have a particularly high rate of unemployment, so sets up a mentoring and job-shadowing programme for people with learning disabilities to help them prepare to apply for jobs

Occupational requirement and positive action are clarified in our statutory code of practice on employment.

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Are Substance Abuse And Alcoholism Considered Disabilities

Alcoholism, and use of illicit drugs is not covered under the ADA. Anyone who is currently using drugs illegally is not protected by the ADA and may be denied employment or fired on the basis of such use.

The ADA does not prevent employers from testing applicants or employees for current illegal drug use, nor from making employment decisions based on testing results that are verifiable. A test for the illegal use of drugs is not considered a medical examination under the ADA. Therefore, it is not a prohibited pre-employment medical examination and you will not have to show that the administration of the test is job-related and consistent with business necessity. The ADA does not encourage, authorize or prohibit drug tests.

A worker who is an alcoholic is a person with a disability and is protected by the ADA if he or she is qualified to perform the essential functions of the job. However, the ADA still allows employers to discipline, discharge or deny employment to an alcoholic whose use of alcohol negatively affects job performance or conduct. An employer also may ban the use of alcohol in the workplace and can require that employees not be under the influence of alcohol, as long as that rule is uniformly applied.

What If I’m Not Disabled Myself But Care For Or Live With A Person With A Disability

What did the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) ever do for us?

You are protected by the ADA if you are discriminated against because of your relationship or association with an individual with a known disability. The reason the ADA prohibits discrimination based on relationship or association is to protect you from job-related discrimination based on unfounded assumptions that your relationship to a person with a disability would affect your job performance, and from actions caused by bias or misinformation concerning certain disabilities.

For example, if you have a disabled spouse and apply for a job, the ADA would prevent you from being denied employment because of an employer’s unfounded assumption that you would use excessive leave to care for your spouse. The ADA also would protect you if you do volunteer work for people with AIDS, and as a result had a discriminatory employment action taken against you that was motivated by that relationship or association.

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Is There Someone At My School Who Can Help Answer My Section 504 Questions

Generally, yes. All school districts, colleges, and universities receiving federal financial assistance and employing 15 or more persons must designate at least one employee to coordinate their efforts to comply with and carry out their responsibilities under Section 504. This person is often, though not always, referred to as a Section 504 coordinator.

Your school is required to publish your Section 504 coordinators contact information in your schools notice of nondiscrimination, typically found in any bulletins, announcements, publications, catalogs, application forms, or other recruitment materials. The Section 504 coordinators contact information should also be prominently posted on your schools website. Section 504 coordinators for public school districts can also be found on OCRs coordinators website at .

Frequently Asked Questions About Disability Accessibility and Services

Equal Employment Opportunity For Individuals With Disabilities

This title is designed to help people with disabilities access the same employment opportunities and benefits available to people without disabilities. Employers must provide reasonable accommodations to qualified applicants or employees. A reasonable accommodation is any modification or adjustment to a job or the work environment that will enable an applicant or employee with a disability to participate in the application process or to perform essential job functions.

This portion of the law is regulated and enforced by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Employers with 15 or more employees must comply with this law. The regulations for Title I define disability, establish guidelines for the reasonable accommodation process, address medical examinations and inquiries, and define direct threat when there is significant risk of substantial harm to the health or safety of the individual employee with a disability or others.

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What Forms Of Discrimination Are There In Education

Itâs unlawful for an education provider to treat disabled students less favourably compared to other students. The following are forms of discrimination which are prohibited under the Equality Act 2010:

  • Discrimination arising from a disability
  • Direct discrimination and indirect discrimination
  • Failure to make reasonable adjustments
  • Harassment
  • Victimisation
  • What About Employers And Other Organisations


    The Commission provides advice and assistance to employers and other organisations about how they can prevent discrimination and meet their responsibilities under the Disability Discrimination Act.

    We do this directly and through information and resources on our website.

    We also run community education programs and support organisations to develop Disability Action Plans.

    Action plans are a way for an organisation to plan the elimination, as far as possible, of disability discrimination from the provision of its goods, services and facilities.

    You can find out more about what were doing by visiting:www.humanrights.gov.au/disability_rights/

    Zack and Eva, who have hearing impairments, said they were unable to enjoy performances at their local entertainment venue because the venue does not have adjustments to accommodate the needs of people with hearing impairments.

    The complainants, who have hearing impairments, said they were unable to enjoy performances at their local entertainment venue because the venue does not have adjustments to accommodate the needs of people with hearing impairments.

    The complaints were resolved through conciliation, with an agreement that the venue operator would install a hearing support system and invite the complainants to trial the system.

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    Are All School Districts Colleges And Universities Covered By Section 504 And Title Ii

    Generally yes. All public school districts are covered by Section 504 and/or Title II this includes public charter schools and magnet schools. All public colleges and universities are covered by Section 504 and Title II. Virtually all private colleges and universities are also covered by Section 504 because they receive federal financial assistance by participating in federal student aid programs. There are some private schools that do not receive any federal assistance, and Section 504 and Title II do not apply to them.

    What If My Employer Does Not Know I Am Disabled Am I Protected

    An employer is required to accommodate only known disabilities. Therefore, it generally is your responsibility as a disabled employee to inform your employer that an accommodation is needed.

    If you think you will need a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in the application process or to perform essential job functions, you should inform the employer that an accommodation will be needed, so that you are protected by the ADA if you are not accommodated.

    Your employer is under an obligation to keep information about your disability that you disclose confidential. The ADA requires that the results of all medical examinations must be kept confidential and maintained in separate medical files.

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    Employing People With Disabilities

    Disability discrimination occurs when an employer treats a qualified employee or applicant unfavorably because she has a disability. It is also unlawful to treat a qualified employee or applicant less favorably because of a history of disability, because of the employers belief that the individual may have a disability, or because of the individuals relationship with a person with a disability.

    The law also requires an employer to provide reasonable accommodation to an employee or job applicant with a disability, unless doing so would cause significant difficulty or expense for the employer .

    Westlaw legal definitions: Reasonable Accommodation.

    Other guidelines include:

    What Is The Meaning Of Disability Discrimination

    1995 Disability Discrimination Act by Jason Wilsher-Mills

    Disability discrimination is when a person with a disability is treated less favourably than a person without the disability in the same or similar circumstances.

    Then, what is an example of disability discrimination?

    Disabled people can experience discrimination if the employer or organisation doesnt make a reasonable adjustment. This is known as a failure to make reasonable adjustments. For example: an employee with mobility impairment needs a parking space close to the office.

    Beside above, how does disability discrimination affect a person? The higher levels of discrimination experienced by people with disabilities are likely to have wide ranging effects on their social and economic circumstances leading to poorer living conditions.

    In this way, what are three examples of disability discrimination?

    Some examples of disability discrimination may include: Discriminating on the basis of physical or mental disability in various aspects of employment, including: recruitment, firing, hiring, training, job assignments, promotions, pay, benefits, lay off, leave and all other employment-related activities.

    How do you overcome disability discrimination?

    Take all reasonably practicable steps to prevent staff from behaving in a discriminatory way, including providing training in disability issues and communicating the organisations equality policies and procedures.

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    What About Discrimination And Harassment At Work

    A person with a disabilityhas a right to the same employment opportunities as a person without a disability.

    If a person with a disability can do the main activities or inherent requirements of a job, then they should have an equal opportunity to do that job.

    In some cases, an employer may need to make some workplace changes so that the employee can best perform the job, such as providing an enlarged computer screen or installing ramps.

    Employers are not required to make workplace changes if it would cause major difficulties or unreasonable costs. This is called unjustifiable hardship.

    However, employers would need to show how making those changes would cause such hardship. Many adjustments involve little or no cost, and the Australian Governments Workplace Modifications Scheme can assist where there are costs in modifying the workplace or purchasing equipment for eligible employees with disability.

    Employers should also have policies and programs in place to prevent discrimination and harassment in the workplace.

    Two friends complained that they had been forced to leave a bar because one of them was accompanied by a guide dog.

    The complaint was resolved and the bar owner provided an apology, financial compensation and a donation to a charity.

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    Textual Amendments

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    Textual Amendments

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    31ABMeaning of discriminationE+W+S

    F249. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    Textual Amendments

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    31ACMeaning of harassmentE+W+S

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    Textual Amendments

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    31ADGeneral qualifications bodies: duty to make adjustmentsE+W+S

    F251. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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    Textual Amendments

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