Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the ADA? 

A: The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) became law in 1990. The ADA is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the general public. The purpose of the law is to make sure that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else. The ADA is divided into five titles (or sections) that relate to different areas of public life. 

  • Title I – Employment 
  • Title II – Public Entities and Public Transportation 
  • Title III – Public Accommodations and Services Operated by Private Entities  
  • Title IV – Telecommunications 
  • Title V – Miscellaneous 

In 2008, the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) was signed into law. The ADAAA clarified the definition of “disability,” making it easier to prove you are a person with a disability.  

Q: What kinds of conditions are considered “disabilities”? 

 A: A disability under the ADA is generally understood to be a physical or mental impairment that “substantially limits one or more major life activities.” Determination as to whether a person has a disability is always an individualized assessment.  

Q: How does OSU protect a person’s private medical information? 

A: Disability-related information is to be treated as private. For example, University faculty and staff do not have a right or a need to access diagnostic or other information regarding the disability of an employee, applicant, or student. They only need to know what barrier exists or what accommodations are necessary or appropriate to meet the individual’s disability-related needs. All disability-related information must be filed with the appropriate offices and kept separate from any other personnel files.  

Q. How is it determined if a reasonable accommodation is appropriate? 

A: Determining appropriate accommodations are always made on a case-by-case basis. The principal test is that of effectiveness; that is, whether the accommodation will provide an opportunity for a person with a disability to achieve the same level of performance and to enjoy benefits equal to those of an average similarly situated person without a disability. The accommodation cannot fundamentally alter an essential element or program requirement or create an undue hardship as determined by the ADA Coordinator’s office or designated office. Accommodations do not include the provision of services of a personal nature (e.g., tutoring, personal care attendant).  

Q: I am an employee and have been diagnosed with a disability. Do I have to tell my supervisor or the University? 

A: No, you do not have to disclose a disability unless you require an accommodation to perform your job responsibilities. If you initially decide not to disclose a disability and then reconsider for any reason, including a worsened condition, you may notify the University at that time. If you choose not to disclose your condition, the University will not be aware of any possible accommodations that might be needed. An employee can request an accommodation by contacting Integrated Absence Management and Vocational Services by submitting a Workplace Accommodation Request via ServiceNow, via email at or by phone at (614)-247-myHR (6947). 

Q: What if I don’t want an accommodation? 

A: That is your choice. If you do not want to go through the accommodation process, then you do not have to.

Q: As a supervisor what do I do if an employee discloses to me that they have a medical condition, and it is causing them difficulty at work? 

A: A supervisor must refer the employee to Integrated Absence Management and Vocational Services (IAMVS) within two business days. IAMVS can be reached at or (614) 247-myHR (6947). There is no specific wording that an individual is required to use to ask for an accommodation. If an individual indicates that a medical condition or disability is a barrier for them at work in any way, then they need to be referred to IAMVS. 

Q: How quickly must an accommodation be put in place once it is requested?  

A: The ADA does not prescribe a specific time frame within which reasonable accommodations must be provided; however, accommodations must be provided without undue delay. The amount of time necessary to provide an accommodation may depend on factors such as the nature of the accommodation, the complexity of the decision-making process (e.g., whether a disability is obvious or must be determined by reviewing medical documentation), and the difficulty of providing the accommodation (e.g., whether it involves a simple modification of a policy or the acquisition of equipment). Accommodations are only implemented at the point of request moving forward and cannot be applied retroactively. 

Q: I am an instructor and I have a student who is requesting accommodations. Who can I contact for help with this request? 

A: If you are a professor or instructor: Student Life Disability Services (SLDS) offers guidance to faculty and teaching assistants on making appropriate accommodations for students with disabilities. SLDS can be reached at or 614-292-3307.  

If you are a student with a disability: SLDS also coordinates the planning and implementation of services for students needing reasonable accommodations. Graduate students who are both students and employees of the University (e.g., work as a teaching or research assistant) may be jointly served by SLDS and IAMVS. 

Q: What resources are available for funding to pay for the accommodation? 

 A: Most student accommodations are funded through Student Life Disability Services. Approved employee accommodations that cost less than $500 are covered by the employing unit. Employee accommodations that cost more than $500 are funded through the ADA Coordinator’s office. For event accommodations, the event organizer is responsible for covering the cost of accommodations. If you are hosting an event that is free and open to the public and/or have financial needs, support may be available through the ADA Coordinator's Office

Q: I have received a form or email from the University asking me to voluntarily self-disclose my disability. Why does the University need this information? 

A: As a recipient of federal contract funding, the University is required to provide a voluntary survey of disability status to allow all employees an opportunity to self-identify as an individual with a disability. Responses to the survey are used for the University's affirmative action planning and are kept confidential. 

Q: I have identified an accessibility concern on campus and would like it to be resolved. Who can I talk to? 

A: If a student, employee, patient, visitor, or member of the public identifies an accessibility barrier, they can access the Accessibility Feedback and Concerns Form or contact the ADA Coordinator’s office at or 614-292-6207.  

Q: What ADA training and programs does OSU provide? 

A: The ADA Coordinator’s office conducts ADA training and technical assistance workshops for OSU units upon request. If you have questions about accessibility on campus or want to know more about the Americans with Disabilities Act, the ADA Coordinator’s office is available for consultation. 

IAMVS provides training regarding disability etiquette, workplace accommodations, workers’ compensation, Family Medical Leave Act, and short and long-term disability benefits upon request.  

SLDS provides trainings upon request. They offer different types of presentations regarding an overview of their services, creating access for students across campus, and disability rights, and disability as an aspect of diversity.  

The Office of the Chief Information Officer, in collaboration with the Digital Accessibility Center, offers trainings for employees in BuckeyeLearn regarding digital accessibility.