Education and Resources

    • Information about online training opportunities

    • Links to Accessibility Related Laws and Policies

    • Reference guides and current workshop offerings


NC State-Offered Educational Opportunities

  • NC State Online Training Module
  • Equal Opportunity Institute (EOI) — The EOI is a unique certificate program offered by the Office for Institutional Equity and Diversity at NC State.  In addition to a required workshop on the ADA and an elective workshop entitled “The Protected Class of Disability,” the EOI offers a wealth of educational programs in the area of equal opportunity.



A guide to frequently-used terms in the context of disability-related reasonable accommodations

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

Essential Job Function: The fundamental job duties of the employment position that the individual with a disability holds or desires. The term “essential function” does not include marginal functions of the position.

Impairment: Includes any physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting one or more body systems, such as neurological, musculoskeletal, special sense organs, respiratory (including speech organs), cardiovascular, reproductive, digestive, genitourinary, immune, circulatory, hemic, lymphatic, skin, and endocrine; or any mental or psychological disorder, such as an intellectual disability (formerly termed “mental retardation”), organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, and specific learning disabilities.

Interactive Process: The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recommends that employers use an “interactive process” by which to determine reasonable accommodations. The interactive process is a means employees and employers to work together in demonstrating a good faith effort to comply with the ADA, to streamline the accommodation process, and to help insure that effective accommodations are provided.

Major Life Activity: Refers to activities that an average person can perform with little or no difficulty. Major life activities include, but are not limited to: caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, sitting, reaching, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, interacting with others, and working; and the operation of a major bodily function, including functions of the immune system, special sense organs and skin; normal cell growth; and digestive, genitourinary, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, cardiovascular, endocrine, hemic, lymphatic, musculoskeletal, and reproductive functions. The operation of a major bodily function includes the operation of an individual organ within a body system.

Qualified Individual: An individual 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. The ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability against a qualified individual.

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. Reasonable accommodation is a key nondiscrimination requirement of the ADA.

Substantially Limits: An impairment is a disability if it substantially limits the ability of an individual to perform a major life activity as compared to most people in the general population. An impairment need not prevent, or significantly or severely restrict, the individual from performing a major life activity in order to be considered substantially limiting.

Undue Hardship: Significant difficulty or expense incurred by a covered entity, when considered in light of certain factors. These factors include the nature and cost of the accommodation in relationship to the size, resources, nature, and structure of the employer s operation. Where the facility making the accommodation is part of a larger entity, the structure and overall resources of the larger organization would be considered, as well as the financial and administrative relationship of the facility to the larger organization. Employers do not have to provide accommodations that cause an undue hardship.

Laws and Policies


External Resources

  • Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) — The EEOC is the federal agency responsible for enforcing the Americans with Disabilities Act.  Information is available on the EEOC website on the ADA and disability discrimination.
  • Job Accommodation Network (JAN) — JAN is a resource for “free, expert, and confidential guidance on workplace accommodations and disability employment issues.  JAN is a service provided by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy.