ADA General Information

What is the Americans with Disabilities Act?

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) is a federal law providing protection from discrimination for individuals with disabilities. The ADA guarantees access to employment, public services provided by state and local government, transportation, public accommodations, and telecommunications.

Who is Protected under the ADA?

The ADA defines a person with a disability as:

  • anyone with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, such as walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working;
  • having a history of such an impairment; or
  • regarded by others as having such an impairment.

This definition covers a whole range of disabilities, including:

  • Blindness and visual impairments
  • Hearing impairments
  • Mobility impairments
  • Learning disabilities
  • Psychological problems
  • Chronic health impairments such as epilepsy, diabetes, arthritis, cancer, cardiac problems, HIV/AIDS and others

How is the ADA Different from other Laws?

The ADA is built upon Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Section 504 requires entities receiving federal funding to ensure equal access for persons with disabilities.

The ADA goes well beyond Section 504, extending coverage to private and state-funded institutions. The ADA complements and expands on Section 504 requirements, including more detailed employment provisions, program accessibility requirements, and new standards for building construction and renovations.

What Does the Law Say?

Title I - Employment

Title I of the ADA prohibits an employer from discriminating against any employee or applicant with a disability. This applies to all aspects of employment, including recruitment, hiring, promotion, benefits, evaluation, and termination.

Under the ADA, Frostburg State University shall provide reasonable accommodations for employees or applicants, upon request, to ensure that individuals with disabilities have equal access to employment opportunities. Some examples of accommodations may include:

  • making work sites accessible
  • acquiring or modifying equipment
  • job restructuring
  • modifying work schedules
  • providing readers or interpreters

FSU has established procedures for handling accommodation requests for both employees and applicants. Complete copies of these procedures are included in the booklet entitled "The ADA and Employment," available from the Office of Human Resources or the Director of Compliance.

Title II - Accessibility of Programs and Activities Sponsored by Public Entities

Title II of the ADA mandates that all programs, services, and activities sponsored by a public entity must he accessible to persons with disabilities. As a state university, FSU is classified as a public entity and is covered under Title II.

Under this title, FSU is responsible for ensuring the accessibility of all events which are held on-campus and activities sponsored by the University at off-campus locations. Such events would include:

  • theatrical or artistic performances
  • lectures or seminars
  • athletic and recreational events
  • conferences
  • convocation and commencement ceremonies

When sponsoring a program or event FSU is responsible for the following:

  • Providing Architectural Access - All University events must be physically accessible to persons with disabilities. The University must ensure that a site is accessible when planning and scheduling an event.
  • Providing Auxiliary Aids - The University shall provide auxiliary aids, upon request, to ensure communication accessibility for persons with disabilities. Examples may include:
    • Interpreters
    • Sound amplification systems
    • Large print or Braille materials
    • Closed caption equipment

Title III - Accessibility of Programs and Activities Sponsored by Private Entities

Title III of the ADA imposes many of the same requirements as Title II, but this title applies to private entities.

While FSU is not directly covered under Title III, many of the organizations which rent space from the University or provide services contractually to FSU are subject to Title III requirements. Under the ADA, FSU is still responsible for ensuring that any program being offered in a University facility is physically accessible and that auxiliary aids are provided upon request.

Title IV- Telecommunications

Title IV of the ADA requires that telecommunication services be made accessible to persons with hearing and speech impairments, with specific requirements for the development of telecommunication relay systems and closed captioning technology.

Title V- Miscellaneous Provisions

Title V provisions include:

  • the establishment of standards for new construction and renovation projects
  • attorneys' fees are to be awarded to prevailing parties in suits filed under ADA
  • federal agencies are to provide technical assistance on the ADA
  • states can be sued for violations of the ADA
  • other laws that provide greater or equal protection to persons with disabilities are not superseded by the ADA.

Ensuring ADA Compliance at FSU

The University has appointed Director of Compliance (ADA/EEO and Immigration) to coordinate the University's efforts to fulfill its responsibilities under these laws. Any individuals with questions or complaints of violations should contact the Director of Compliance.

Complaints will be handled following the University's internal grievance procedure for disability related issues. A complete copy of this procedure can be obtained from the Director of Compliance.