ADA/Section 504

Schools, colleges and universities, and public and private employers across a wide range of industries frequently receive notice of disability discrimination claims based on alleged violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

When a school or employer receives a report of an alleged ADA/504 violation, they should act quickly to investigate and address the matter. An independent investigation can provide a reliable understanding of the facts, an objective analysis of the legal issues and risk, and provide recommendations for resolving the matter.

Examples of Discrimination Claims Under the ADA/Section 504

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 both prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability. Disability discrimination occurs when a person is treated less favorably because of a physical or mental disability or a condition that substantially limits a major life activity.

In the employment context, discrimination may occur when a person with a disability experiences an adverse employment action such as termination or a demotion. Other examples of disability discrimination include disability-based harassment, failure to make reasonable accommodations, and making any employment decisions based on a person’s disability or perceived disability.

Students are also protected from disability discrimination, and schools must have policies and procedures in place to:

  • Evaluate students with disabilities to ensure that they are not misclassified or inappropriately placed
  • Periodically reevaluate students who have been provided with services
  • Provide special education and related aids and services to meet the needs of students with disabilities as adequately as students who do not have disabilities
  • Educate students with disabilities with students who do not have disabilities to the extent that this is appropriate for students with disabilities
  • Inform parents of decisions and provide a process to review those decisions

Investigating Allegations of Disability Discrimination

If your organization has received a report of alleged disability discrimination, a timely, thorough, and impartial investigation is paramount. We have extensive experience in thoroughly investigating these claims by interviewing the parties and other witnesses who may have information about the alleged discrimination. We also obtain and review any evidentiary materials that may be in support or defense of the claim. The comprehensive reports that are generated following our investigations assist clients in defending against allegations of discrimination, resolving claims appropriately, and avoiding allegations that an internal investigation was biased, procedurally defective, non-compliant or otherwise flawed.