Americans with Disabilities Act
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities, and guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in employment, public accommodations, transportation, state and local government services and telecommunications.
Employees who qualify as disabled under the ADA, may request reasonable accommodations to aid them in completing their job functions.
What is the Definition of a Disability?
Not everyone with a medical condition is protected by the law. In order to be protected, a person must be qualified for the job and have a disability as defined by the law. A person can show that he or she has a disability in one of three ways:
- A person may be disabled if he or she has a physical or mental condition that substantially limits a major life activity (such as walking, talking, seeing, hearing, or learning), or a physical or mental condition that substantially limits the operation of a major bodily function.
- A person may be disabled if he or she has a history of a disability (such as cancer that is in remission).
- A person may be disabled if he or she is believed to have a physical or mental impairment that is not transitory (lasting or expected to last six months or less) and minor (even if he does not have such an impairment).
Should I Tell My Employer That I Have a Disability?
It is the responsibility of the employee or applicant to inform the 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 your job functions, you should inform the employer that an accommodation is needed. Employers are required to engage in an interactive process to determine if and what accommodations might be reasonable for an employee. Employers are only expected to provide reasonable accommodations for qualified employees, and which the employer is aware of the disability.
What are Major Life Activities?
Major life activities include, but are not limited to caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and working. Under the ADAAA, major life activities is expanded to include major bodily functions that include, but are not limited to, functions of the immune system, normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, circulatory, endocrine, and reproductive functions.
What About Impairments That are Episodic or in Remission?
An impairment that is episodic or in remission is a disability if it would substantially limit a major life activity when active.
Are Requests for Accommodations Confidential?
Only those who have a legitimate need to know will be involved in the ADA accommodation process.
What is the ADA Committee?
The ADA Committee monitors ADA compliance districtwide and makes final determinations regarding facility access and reasonable ADA accommodations.
What is the Interactive Process?
The interactive process is an informal process to clarify what the employee needs to perform the essential functions of the job, gain access to the workplace, or enjoy equal access to benefits and privileges of employment.
What is a Reasonable Accommodation?
Reasonable accommodation is any change or adjustment to a job or work environment that permits a qualified applicant or employee with a disability to participate in the job application process, to perform the essential functions of a job, or to enjoy benefits and privileges of employment equal to those enjoyed by employees without disabilities. Under the ADA, employers are required to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified employees with disabilities, unless doing so would pose an undue hardship.
What are the Essential Functions of a Job?
The essential functions of the job are the fundamental job duties of the position.
ADA Request for Accommodation Process
Use the following process to request a reasonable ADA accommodation or to address a facility access issue.
If you are a parent or community member and require ADA access to any district activity, program or facility, please contact the school's principal.
Before contacting the Employee Relations Office do the following:
- Complete Section A of the ADA/ADAAA Request for Accommodation and Medical Inquiry form (form EEO#001).
- Begin the interactive process by discussing your needs with your principal or program supervisor.
- Work with your supervisor to discuss reasonable accommodations.
- Your supervisor will complete the ADA Plan with your input, and both parties will sign the ADA Plan.
- The ADA Plan will be reviewed periodically.
Any student, staff, or community member who believes that he or she has been the subject of harassment and/or discriminatory behavior should report the incident immediately to the principal or department supervisor. Complaints regarding harassment/discriminatory behavior will be investigated immediately.
In addition, employees and students may also report incidents of harassment and discrimination to the District’s Employee Relations Office or Office of Equity and Community Engagement respectively, or to an outside agency, i.e., the Municipality of Anchorage Equal Rights Commission, the Municipal Ombudsman Office, the State of Alaska Human Rights Commission, the U. S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or the Office for Civil Rights.
Any student, staff or community member who violates these policies can be subject to appropriate disciplinary action.
Are Employees/Applicants Protected From Retaliation?
Federal law and District policy prohibits retaliation against individuals who have exercised their right to protest acts that they believe violate the laws enforced by the Anchorage School District. Retaliation against individuals who have participated in the processing an ADA accommodation is also prohibited.