Short-Term Illnesses

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), temporary conditions don’t qualify as disabilities. The EEOC has found that conditions lasting only a few days or weeks and having no long-term or permanent effects on the person’s health will not qualify as disabilities. For example, colds, the flu, broken bones, surgery, and sprains generally won’t qualify as disabilities, assuming they don’t have serious, long-term consequences. Pregnancy also doesn’t count as a disability.

A short-term illness or other condition that has long-term complications may qualify as a disability. For example, if an employee breaks his leg and must be in a cast and use crutches for six weeks that generally wouldn’t be a disability. However, if the student’s leg doesn’t heal properly and the student is permanently unable to walk for more than a few minutes without pain that would likely be a disability. Similarly, a student who suffers a mild concussion in a bike accident, but recovers fully within a few days, likely does not have a disability. If, however, the student suffers brain damage as a result of the accident that would generally qualify as a disability.

What Should You Do if You Have a Short-Term Illness and Feel You Need a Classroom Accommodation?

  • Notify your professor of your situation  -Be prepared to present medical documentation of your medical condition and temporary limitations.
  • If your professor is resistant to work with you regarding your temporary illness, contact the Dept. Head.
  • If you still feel you need assistance with your situation, contact the Student Access Center at 448-4430
  • If you have a short-term condition such as perhaps a broken leg or surgery affecting your mobility please call the University Police to request temporary access to a Handicapped parking space.