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EOI & TITLE IX GUIDANCE

University of North Florida Office of Equal Opportunity & Inclusion Newsletter

 

VOL. 2, ISSUE 2

AUGUST 2021 

Top Stories in this Issue

 
  •  How the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Impacts UNF?
  •  ADA Definitions
ADA National Network Logo

How the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA Impacts UNF?

 The ADA became a civil rights law in 1990 and it 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 ADA is to ensure that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else. The ADA gives civil rights protections to individuals with disabilities similar to those provided to individuals on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age, and religion.

Student Accessibility Services (SAS)

Student Accessibility Services coordinates and ensures services and accommodations for registered students with disabilities. SAS also acts as a gateway for disability-related information and guidance. These services provide equal educational opportunities to students by minimizing the impact of functional limitations upon their academic and non-academic lives.

 

SAS is the only office on campus that determines appropriate accommodations for students. Decisions regarding accommodations are based on documentation provided by the student with a disability, as well as the student's functional limitations. Once determined by SAS, faculty members are required to implement the approved accommodations for the student.

 

SAS encourages but does not require registered students to meet with faculty members at the beginning of each semester to discuss their Letter of Accommodations. However, a student can register with SAS or present their Letter of Accommodations at any time during the semester. Accommodations are not retroactive; they will begin as soon as the professor receives notification of accommodations.

 

Faculty should NOT REQUEST for the student to provide any medical documentation as that information is confidential. If you have any questions regarding an approved accommodation for a student, contact SAS directly at 904-620-2769.

CIRT

CIRT offers resources including courses to support faculty members in building on-line materials for distance learning and hybrid courses that are ADA compliant. CIRT needs to be consulted in advance of the course being posted to the internet so that it meets all federal requirements PRIOR to the first day of classes.

 

ADA Compliance Office

This office provides reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities who are staff or faculty members and who are able to perform the essential functions of their position with or without an accommodation.


EOI

EOI investigates claims of disability discrimination by any member of the UNF community. In addition, EOI provides training programs on the topic and works with SAS to ensure that reasonable accommodations are granted.

 

In the area of employment, EOI works with the liaisons appointed by each Dean by assisting Colleges with preparing pro-active recruitment plans to include recruiting employees with disabilities.

 

Please note that the ADA Compliance office only processes and provides disability accommodations for employees. If an employee needs to request an accommodation based on their religion, those requests should be made to EOI.


Service Animals

UNF Regulation 6.0210R Service, Assistance and Other Animals on Campus

 

The ADA only recognizes dogs and miniature horses as service animals. Support animals are not allowed on campus except under specific cases for persons residing in residence halls. The full UNF regulation is here.

 

Please note that pursuant to Section 413.08, Florida Statutes, a person who misrepresents herself or himself as using as service animal, being qualified to use a service animal, or as a trainer of service animal commits a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable by up to 60 days imprisonment, a fine of up to $500 and up to 30 hours of community service.

  

THRIVE

The Transition to Healthiness, Resourcefulness, Independence, Vocation, and Education (THRIVE) program is unique to UNF and provides supplemental resources for degree-seeking students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). THRIVE focuses on four primary areas of need:

  • Social skills
  • Independent living skills
  • Career development skills
  • Executive functioning skills

Autism affects individuals in different ways, which is why THRIVE is not a one-size-fits-all program; its ever-developing supports are designed to meet the individual needs of each student. In addition to the resources offered, the THRIVE program serves as a community for students on the spectrum to meet and interact with like-minded individuals, as well as connect with people and employers in the Jacksonville area through events and volunteer opportunities. 

 

RECRUITMENT OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES FOR OPEN POSITIONS

UNF is required by the federal government to produce and disseminate an annual Affirmative Action Plan. This plan must include data regarding the effectiveness of our outreach and recruitment efforts for individuals with disabilities for faculty and staff positions. As your department plans for recruitment efforts for 2021-2022, make sure that you discuss and are able to explain the following:

  • Results of utilization analysis for individuals with disabilities;
  • Available data related to applicant and hires with disabilities;
  • Whether the activities implemented increased the University's ability to include individuals with disabilities in its workforce;
  • Whether the activities implemented attracted qualified individuals with disabilities; and
  • Whether the activities implemented resulted in the selection of qualified individuals with disabilities.

 

Disability_Rights_are_Civil_Rights

ADA Definitions

Disability  – A physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a record of such an impairment, or being regarded as having such an impairment.

 

Essential job function  – Fundamental job duties of the employment position the individual with a disability holds or desires. The term "essential functions" does not include the marginal functions of the position.

  • A job function may be considered essential for any of several reasons, including but not limited to the following: 
    • The function may be essential because the reason the position exists is to perform that function; 
    • The function may be essential because of the limited number of employees available among whom the performance of that job function can be distributed; and/or 
    • The function may be highly specialized so that the incumbent in the position is hired for his or her expertise or ability to perform the particular function. 
  • Evidence of whether a particular function is essential includes, but is not limited to:
    • The employer's judgment as to which functions are essential;
    • Written job descriptions prepared before advertising or interviewing applicants for the job;
    • The amount of time spent on the job performing the function;
    • The consequences of not requiring the incumbent to perform the function;
    • The terms of a collective bargaining agreement;
    • The work experience of past incumbents in the job; and/or
    • The current work experience of incumbents in similar jobs.

 

 Fundamental alteration – A modification that is so significant that it alters the essential nature of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations offered. If a public entity can demonstrate that the modification would fundamentally alter the nature of its service, program, or activity, it is not required to make the modification. If a public accommodation (private entity) can demonstrate that a modification would fundamentally alter the nature of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations it provides, it is not required to make the modification.

 

Impairment  – A physical impairment is a physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement or anatomical loss affecting one or more of the body systems. A mental impairment is any mental or psychological disorder.

 

Individual with a Disability  – A person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of such individual or a record of such an impairment or is regarded as having such an impairment.

 

Interactive Process  – An informal dialogue between the employer and employee used to identify the precise limitations resulting from the disability and determine potential reasonable accommodations that could overcome those limitations.

 

Major life activity  – An activity that an average person can perform with little or no difficulty.

 

Marginal functions  – Duties of a job that are not absolutely necessary for the job being performed.

 

Qualified individual with a disability  – A person with a disability who satisfies the requisite skill, experience, education and other job-related requirements of the employment position such individual holds or desires, and who, with or without reasonable accommodation, can perform the essential functions of such position.

 

Reasonable accommodation  – A modification or adjustment to a job, the work environment, or the way things usually are done that enables a qualified individual with a disability to enjoy an equal employment opportunity. For example:

  • Modifications or adjustments to a job application process that enable a qualified applicant with a disability to be considered for the position such qualified applicant desires; or
  • Modifications or adjustments to the work environment, or to the manner or circumstances under which the position held or desired is customarily performed, that enable a qualified individual with a disability to perform the essential functions of that position; or
  • Modifications or adjustments that enable a covered entity's employee with a disability to enjoy equal benefits and privileges of employment as are enjoyed by its other similarly situated employees without disabilities.

Reasonable modification  – A public entity must modify its policies, practice, or procedures to avoid discrimination unless the modification would fundamentally alter the nature of its service, program, or activity.

 

Undue burden  – Significant difficulty or expense. A public accommodation is not required to provide any auxiliary aid or service that would result in an undue burden.

 

Undue hardship  – An action that requires "significant difficulty or expense" in relation to the size of the employer, the resources available, and the nature of the operation. The concept of undue hardship includes any action that is unduly costly, extensive, substantial, disruptive, or would fundamentally alter the nature or operation of the business. Accordingly, whether a particular accommodation will impose an undue hardship must always be determined on a case-by- case basis.

 

Undue financial and administrative burden  – A public entity does not have to take any action that it can demonstrate would result in an undue financial and administrative burden. This applies in program accessibility, effective communication, and auxiliary aids and services. The determination of an undue financial and administrative burden must be:

  • Made by the head of the public entity or his/her designee.
  • Accompanied by a written statement of the reasons.
  • Based on all resources available for use in the program.
lessons learned - red marker with the words

Lessons Learned: UNF

If you in any way treat a student or employee differently than similarly situated students or employees based on a disability it is possible that UNF may be found to have discriminated against the person involved.

 

In 2019, UNF was found by the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) to have discriminated against a student in the College of Education and Human Services because a faculty member did not provide an approved accommodation to the student. As a result, UNF had to provide training to every faculty member, full-time, part-time and adjunct, regarding the ADA. The list of each faculty member trained was provided to OCR to prove this action was completed.

 

If OCR returns to campus for the same type of violation, there could be serious consequences for the university that could include monetary fines. If you have questions regarding providing approved accommodations to students, call SAS. If you have questions about how to make course materials or your website ADA compatible, call CIRT. If you do not provide an accommodation for a student because you forgot and then later provide the accommodation, you have violated the law and then sought to correct the action. WE MUST all work together with having approved accommodations in place on the first day of class each term to avoid violating the ADA.

 

SWOOP!

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INVESTIGATIONS

Total EOI Investigations  

2019-2020 (July 1 - June 30)           129
2020-2021 (July 1 - June 30) 118

Note: Several Complainant’s reported more than one protected basis

 

Current EOI Investigations  

Opened in July 10
Closed in July 8
Referred to OSAR        0
Total Cases in July 25

Data as of <July 31, 2021> 

Note: Student Case must be closed by EOI before it can be referred to OSAR 

Help Button

EOI Office Staff Directory

Director and Title IX Coordinator

Marlynn Jones, Esquire

Marlynn.jones@unf.edu

Title IX & Civil Rights Investigator

Christina Chatman

Christina.chatman@unf.edu

EOI Coordinator

Fantei Norman

Fantei.norman@unf.edu



Office of Equal Opportunity & Inclusion

1 UNF Drive, Building 1, Suite 1200, Jacksonville, FL 32224

904-620-2507

Email - Title IX Website - EOI Website

Edited by: Marlynn R. Jones, Esquire