Disability Law

Disability Services

The role of Disability Services at Gustavus is to adhere to the directives of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 and the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) of 2008. The purpose of these civil rights laws is to prohibit discrimination against persons with disabilities in programs receiving federal financial assistance. The Amendments Act of 2008 emphasizes that the definition of disability should be construed in favor of “broad coverage of individuals to the maximum extent permitted by the terms of the ADA and generally shall not require extensive analysis.” The Act retains the ADA's basic definition of "disability" as an impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a record of such an impairment, or being regarded as having such an impairment. However, it revises the portion of its regulations defining the term "substantially limits" and expands the definition of "major life activities" by including two non-exhaustive lists. The effect of these changes is to make it easier for an individual seeking protection under the ADA to establish that he or she has a disability within the meaning of the ADA, because it emphasizes the aspect of what accommodations are needed and helpful not whether on the individual qualifies as having a disability.