The Americans with Disabilities Act FAQ

How do I request a disability related accommodation?

Employees can submit a request for an accommodation due to a disability or underlying medical condition, by completing our online request form through our secure portal. If you experience any difficulty or have questions about how to submit your request, please contact the Accessibility and Accommodations Division to submit your request by email to or by calling (217) 333-0885.

What is the Americans with Disabilities Act?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a law signed in 1990 and amended in 2008 (Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act – ADAAA) that protects the rights of people with disabilities and prevents discrimination based on disability. It requires employers, local and state governments, and providers of public services to provide reasonable accommodation to people with disabilities.

Who is protected under the ADA?

All qualified employees who have a physical and/or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of life’s major activities are protected from discrimination. The ADA also prohibits discrimination against individuals who have a record of a disability and/or those who are regarded as having a disability.

What is considered a disability under the ADA?

Under the ADA, a disability is described as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities. The ADA does not list every disability but defines disability as:

  1. A physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities (examples: working, talking, hearing, seeing, thinking, communicating, caring for one’s self, major bodily functions, etc.)
  2. The record of such an impairment (example: someone having recovered from a serious illness)
  3. Being regarded by others as having an impairment (example: individuals with severe facial scarring)

Some common functional disability types include (but are not limited to) deafness or hard of hearing, blind or low vision, intellectual disability, mobility impairments, Autism, chronic medical conditions, diabetes, immunocompromised conditions, cancer, diabetes, epilepsy, major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder etc.

Who is a qualified person with a disability?

A qualified person with a disability is a person who satisfies all of the prerequisites and can perform the essential functions of the employment position either with or without reasonable accommodation.

What does it mean to be substantially limiting?

According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), an impairment substantially limits a major life activity if the person is either unable to perform a major life activity that the average person in the general public can perform, or is significantly restricted as to the condition, manner or duration under which they perform the activity as compared to the condition, manner or duration under which the average person in the general public performs the activity.

The determination of whether an impairment substantially limits a major life activity must be made without regard to mitigating measures including but not limited to: medication, prosthetics, hearing devices, or mobility devices.

What are major life activities?

Activities that are fundamental to life and that the average person can perform with little or no difficulty including, but not limited to: breathing, caring for oneself, learning, lifting, performing manual tasks, reaching, seeing, sitting, speaking, standing, talking, walking, and working.

What are essential functions?

Tasks, or job duties, that are fundamental to the performance of the employee’s job duties.

What is a reasonable accommodation?

A reasonable accommodation is a modification or adjustment to a job or the work environment that enables an otherwise qualified applicant or employee to perform the essential functions of the job. It is the employee’s responsibility to request the accommodation and to provide requested medical documentation to the Accessibility & Accommodations Division in order to determine the most appropriate reasonable accommodations available.

What is an undue burden?

An action requiring significant difficulty or expense to the employer when considered in light of a number of factors, such as the nature and cost of the accommodation in relation to the size, resources, nature, and structure of the employer’s operation. The size of the organization is typically considered, as well as the financial and administrative relationship of the facility to the larger organization.