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Advancing the Human & Civil Rights of People with Disabilities in Illinois



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These entities are covered under Title III of the ADA if they are private (such as the Law School Admissions Council) or under Title II of the ADA if they are public (such as the Illinois Board of Admissions to the Bar).

Equip for Equality’s Employment Rights Helpline receives calls about a wide variety of issues. Here are some typical questions:

  • I am having trouble with my performance at work and I think it may have to do with my disability. What can I do?
  • How do I request reasonable accommodations?
  • What should I do if my employer denies my request for an accommodation?
  • Should I disclose my disability? How should I do it?
  • Can an employer ever ask questions about my disability?
  • How do I request FMLA leave?
  • My employer asked me for all of my medical records. What should I do?
  • What do I do if I am being retaliated against for requesting FMLA leave?
  • I think I am being discriminated against because of my disability. What do I do?
  • How do I pursue legal action against my employer for disability-related discrimination?
  • I am having trouble finding a job. Are there any resources available for people with disabilities to assist them in finding jobs?
  • I feel my employer owes me wages. What can I do to address this issue?

Yes. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) says students with disabilities are entitled to a free and appropriate public education – known as special education. However, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act provide additional rights outside of the special education context.

Examples of when the ADA/Section 504 would apply are:

  • Gaining physical access to the school
  • Assisting students with diabetes who need to take medication
  • Providing documents in alternate formats for students with visual impairments
  • Providing American Sign Language interpreters for students who are deaf

No. The ADA and Section 504 would apply to anyone seeking access to the school. For example, parents who use a wheelchair have rights under the ADA and Section 504 if they cannot enter the school to watch a child at a sporting event or to attend a parent/teacher conference. For an example, see:

Yes. Title II of the ADA covers colleges and universities that are public, meaning they are state-owned and -run. Title III of the ADA covers private colleges and universities. If a higher education institution receives federal money, it would also be covered under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.

Yes. Failing to make reasonable modifications in policies, practices or procedures to accommodate a person’s disability-related request is discrimination, unless the school can show that making the changes would cause undue hardship or fundamentally alter the nature of its services.

People with disabilities have a right to live in the community with nondisabled people.  People with disabilities cannot be forced to live in institutions in order to receive services.  Institutional living used to be the norm for people with disabilities.  But, due to changes in attitudes and stronger legal protections, more people with disabilities are living in the community.

The Americans with Disabilities Act requires states to offer services in the “most integrated setting.”  The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that segregating people with disabilities in institutions is a form of discrimination.  Many lower court cases have affirmed the right of people with disabilities to live in the community.  Some courts have also relied on the U.S. Constitution and the Medicaid provisions of the Social Security Act when ruling in favor of community integration.

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Last updated: April 17, 2014

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