“It is the purpose of this Act . . . to provide a clear and comprehensive national mandate for the elimination of discrimination against individuals with disabilities [and] to provide clear, strong, consistent, enforceable standards addressing discrimination against individuals with disabilities . . . .” 42 U.S.C. § 12101(b).
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq., prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in employment, state and local government, public accommodations, commercial facilities, transportation, and telecommunications. To be protected by the ADA, one must have a disability or have a relationship with an individual with a disability. An individual with a disability is defined by the ADA as someone who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a person who has a history or record of such an impairment, or a person who is perceived by others as having such an impairment.
“No otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the United States . . . shall, solely by reason of his or her disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance . . . .” 29 U.S.C. § 794(a).
The Rehabilitation Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in programs receiving federal financial assistance and in the employment practices of federal contractors. Each federal agency has its own set of § 504 regulations but all include reasonable accommodation for employees with disabilities, program accessibility, effective communication for individuals who have hearing or vision disabilities, and accessible new construction.
Individuals with concerns or questions about the ADA or Section 504 may contact the University of Maine’s ADA and Section 504 Coordinator as follows:
Karen D. Kemble, Esq. – Director
Office of Equal Opportunity
5754 North Stevens Hall, Room 101
University of Maine
Orono Maine 04469-5754
Section 504 and the ADA also prohibit retaliation for raising a complaint under these acts or for advocating for a right these acts protect. For more information about the University’s internal complaint procedure, please see Equal Opportunity Complaint Procedures.
The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights is the entity that is charged with enforcing ADA and § 504 compliance. Inquiries about these issues may also be referred to the U. S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (OCR), 8th Floor, Five Post Office Square, Boston MA 02109-3921, telephone 617.289.0111, fax 617.289.0150, TTY 877.521.2172 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. The website for the Office of Civil Rights can be located by following this link.