Disabled or Handicapped Individual


State Law

The Wisconsin Fair Employment Act (s.111.32) defines a handicapped individual as an individual who:

  1. Has a physical or mental impairment which makes achievement unusually difficult or limits the capacity to work;
  2. Has a record of such an impairment; or
  3. Is perceived as having such an impairment. 

Federal Law

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 12102) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act defines a disabled individual as an individual who:

  1. Has a mental or physical impairment which substantially limits one or more of such person’s major life activities;
  2. Has a record of such impairment; or
  3. Is regarded as having such impairment.

Physical or mental impairment

A physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss such as epilepsy, paralysis, HIV infection, AIDS, or substantial hearing or vision impairment, or (b) a mental or psychological disorder, such as mental retardation, organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness and specific learning disabilities. Examples of conditions that would not be disabilities are short-term, non-chronic conditions such as a broken bone, a sprain or a common cold. An impairment that is episodic or in remission is a disability if it would substantially limit a major life activity when active.

Major life activities

The activity of caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating and working. A major life activity also includes the operation of a major bodily function, including but not limited to, functions of the immune system, normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, and reproductive functions.

Substantially limits

A material restriction of the duration, manner or condition under which an individual can perform a major life activity when compared to the average person’s ability to perform that same major life activity. Temporary impairments that take significantly longer than normal to heal, long-term impairments, or potentially long-term impairments of indefinite duration may be disabilities if they are severe.

Record of such an impairment

An individual who has a history of, or has been classified as having, a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. Individuals who have been misclassified by a school or hospital as having mental retardation or a substantially limiting learning disability would be covered by this part of the definition of disability.

Is regarded as having an impairment

An individual who has an actual physical or mental impairment and the University is aware of such impairment, or an individual who the University perceives to have a physical or mental impairment (whether one exists or not).

Qualified employee with a disability

An individual who has a disability as defined by this policy and who has the experience, education, and/or training to enable him or her, with or without a reasonable accommodation, to perform the essential functions of the job.

Reasonable accommodation

A modification or adjustment to a job or the work environment that will enable a qualified applicant or employee with a disability to participate in the application process, perform the essential job functions and/or participate in the educational opportunities, programs and activities of the University. Reasonable accommodation also includes adjustments to assure that a qualified individual with a disability has rights and privileges in employment equal to those of employees without disabilities.

Undue hardship

An accommodation that would be unduly costly, expensive, substantial or disruptive, or that would fundamentally alter the nature or operation of the University’s business.

Direct threat to health or safety

A condition, impairment or conduct that an employer has determined on the basis of legitimate and reasonable evidence that an individual’s employment at UW-Stout poses a direct threat to the health or safety of the individual or others in the workplace. A determination of a direct threat may not be based solely upon speculation or unsubstantiated evidence.