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ADA 101 - ADA Glossary - Legal and Practical Terms C-E

Companion seating: Seating offered by a performance venue of any kind located near the venue’s accessible seating and reserved for the companions of individuals who use accessible seating. A venue must not charge a higher price for companion seating than the cost of the seat an individual requests.  (e.g., an individual requesting a balcony level companion seat must not be charged more than the cost of a balcony level seat ticket, even if the venue’s only companion seating is located at floor level.)

Direct Threat: When the behavior or actions of an individual with a disability pose a significant risk of substantial harm to the health of the individual or others.  This threat must be current and must be supported by factual and/or medical evidence.  A direct threat is considered significant because it cannot be eliminated or mitigated by reasonable accommodation. 

Disability: A person is considered to be an individual with a disability covered by the ADA, as amended, when he or she has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities; has a record of having such an impairment; and/or is regarded as having such an impairment.

Disability Disclosure: The decision an individual with a disability makes about whether to disclose his or her disability to an employer.  An individual is never required to disclose his or her disability, even if it is obvious, but the employer is allowed to ask the individual with an obvious disability to demonstrate how he or she would perform essential functions of his job.

EEOC: The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is responsible for enforcing federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee because of the person's race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information. It is also illegal to discriminate against a person because the person complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit.

Effective Communication: Under ADA Title II (State and Local Government) a Government Agency must provide auxiliary aids to ensure that communication with people with disabilities is just as effective as communication with people without disabilities (e.g. Braille, sign language, note reader, note taker, etc.)

Eligibility Criteria: Eligibility determinations for qualification for or participation in government programs and services must not arbitrarily screen out individuals with disabilities based on speculation.  If individuals are screened out, criteria must be based on legitimate safety requirements necessary for the safe operation of the program.

Equal Benefit: Individuals with disabilities must be afforded the same benefits of government programs and services as individuals without disabilities.

Essential Functions: The major duties of a job or position, which an individual must be able to perform to become qualified and to remain qualified to fill that position.

Extensive and Substantial: An individual’s request for a “reasonable accommodation” could be considered extensive and substantial if the requested accommodation requires a far-reaching and significant change in current office layout or function (e.g., changing the entire office layout for one person).