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Information for Student Employees

ADA and Accessibility Services responds to requests for ADA workplace accommodations at Virginia Tech.  University Policy 4075 is in place to assist individuals requesting accommodations and requires that each employee submit the appropriate forms provided by our office. 

Title I of the ADA as amended is designed to assist qualified employees access the same employment opportunities and benefits available to employees without disabilities. Employers must provide reasonable accommodations to qualified applicants or employees.  

Relevant Definitions

The term “qualified” means that applicant/employee meets the skill, experience, education, and other job-related requirements of the position sought or held, and can perform the essential job functions of the position, with or without reasonable accommodation

The term employee means, "an individual employed by an employer." The question of whether an employer-employee relationship exists is fact-specific and depends on whether the employer controls the means and manner of the worker's work performance.

The term disability means:

  1. a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, 
  2. a person with a record of a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, and
  3. a person who is regarded as having a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.

The term essential job functions means the fundamental job duties of the employment position that the individual with a disability holds or desires. The term essential functions does not include marginal functions of the position.

Workplace accommodations refer to reasonable modifications or adjustment to a job or the work environment or the way things are usually done during the hiring or appointment process. These modifications enable a qualified individual with a disability to have an equal opportunity to obtain a position and also to successfully perform tasks to the same extent as people without disabilities.

The ADA & Accessibility Services engages in an interactive process to be able to assess workplace accommodations. This process is detailed in the ADA & Accessibility Services Practices and Policies.

Employees (including students in the workplace) can request an ADA accommodation by following these steps:

  1. Employee fills out medical release authorizing ADA & Accessibility Services to receive documents from medical provider.
  2. Employee provides cover letter and medical information request form to medical provider.
  3. Medical provider returns completed medical information request form to ADA & Accessibility Services by fax to 540-231-2990 or email to

When all required forms have been fully completed and returned, someone in ADA & Accessibility Services will contact you.  If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact the ADA & Accessibility Services at

Student employees requesting a reasonable accommodation for their workplace may follow the steps outlined above:  How Do I Make a Request for Reasonable Accommodation?

No, academic accommodations do not automatically transfer to assistantships or employment. ADA & Accessibility Services assesses all requests for workplace accommodations on a case-by-case basis. The types of accommodations needed in the academic setting will often vary from what accommodations are needed in the workplace. Accommodations that are reasonable in the academic environment may not be considered reasonable in the workplace and vice versa.

Only if you have a disability-related need for both academic accommodations related to your graduate coursework and workplace accommodations related to your student employment or graduate appointment.

Additional FAQs

Individuals with disabilities do not need to disclose to ADA & Accessibility Services that they have a disability unless they want to pursue requesting workplace accommodations.

ADA & Accessibility Services may ask for documentation of a medical condition from the treating physician for the purpose of determining whether an individual has a disability and their workplace limitations resulting from the disability. This may vary depending on the nature and extent of the disability and the accommodation requested.

In short, the accommodations needed for students with disabilities in the academic learning environment are often different from the accommodations needed in the workplace. Academic accommodations are intended to ensure students have equal access to education. Workplace accommodations are intended to ensure individuals are able to perform the essential functions of their position and have equal access to employment and appointment opportunities. These assessments are different.

A wide variety of services and resources are available to all students including academic resources, health and wellness support, diversity and inclusion, and many more. After requesting an accommodation with ADA & Accessibility Services, ADA & Accessibility Services assigns your request to a trained ADA Specialist who would be happy to address specific questions and concerns about available resources.

ADA & Accessibility Services does not disclose disability accommodation information to future employers.  

Disability-related information is treated as private information, meaning that information will be shared only with a limited number of individuals who “need to know” in order to assist in the review of the accommodation request, the determination, and the implementation of accommodation(s) where applicable. Certain persons may need to be aware of requested accommodations, an individual’s limitations leading to the need for an accommodation, and/or the outcome of accommodation decisions. These persons can include, but are not limited to, a supervisor or manager, Principal Investigator, Department Chair, Faculty Advisor, human resources personnel, first aid and safety personnel, and those assisting with implementing accommodations. Your specific diagnosis or medical condition is not shared by ADA & Accessibility Services. Please contact ADA & Accessibility Services directly if you have specific questions regarding workplace accommodations by email at

ADA & Accessibility Services assesses workplace accommodations for employees with disabilities to perform the essential functions of their position. They also assess accommodation requests for individuals serving graduate assistantships, teaching assistantships, student employment, graduate part-time instructorships, and other types of graduate and student appointments (all referred to below as graduate appointment and for the purposes of this document collectively referred to along with employee context as the “workplace”). For more information, please contact ADA & Accessibility Services directly via email at

Please feel free to contact Services for Students with Disabilities or ADA & Accessibility Services for more clarity. Either office can help with specific questions and provide you with accurate information moving forward.

Contact Information:

Office for Equity and Accessibility
220 Gilbert Street (0150)
Blacksburg, VA 24060

Phone | 540-231-2010
Fax | 540-231-2990
Email |

Virtual Office Hours:

Schedule an appointment to discuss any questions or concerns regarding a reasonable accommodation request.