University of Alabama at Birmingham
Disability Support Services ADA/504 Grievance Procedure


I.     Purpose

These Grievance Procedures are established to meet the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 ("ADA") and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 section 504. The ADA and the Rehabilitation Act prohibit the University of Alabama at Birmingham (“UAB”) from excluding individuals from participation in its educational programs or activities on the basis of disability, from denying them the benefits of such programs or activities, and from discriminating against such individuals. The ADA and the Rehabilitation Act also require UAB to adopt a grievance process relating to discrimination on the basis of disability. UAB has adopted these internal grievance procedures providing for prompt, equitable, and impartial resolution of grievances alleging violations of the ADA or Section 504. These grievance procedures support UAB’s values of diversity, inclusion, and integrity and are established to implement UAB’s Equal Opportunity and Discriminatory Harassment Policy as it relates to the requirements of the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act.


II.     Scope

This Grievance Procedure applies to UAB students who believe they have been discriminated against on the basis of their disability or have been denied access or accommodations required by law. This is the procedure for grievances against the university itself, or university employees or agents, and is governed by UAB’s Equal Opportunity and Discriminatory Harassment Policy.

Specifically, students may file a grievance regarding:

  • A requested service or accommodation, including appeals of Disability Services’ determinations regarding accommodations;
  • Inaccessibility of a university program or activity;
  • Harassment1 or discrimination on the basis of disability in violation of university policy; or
  • Any other alleged violation of the ADA or the Rehabilitation Act.

For more information, visit ada.gov


III.    Informal Resolution

Students are encouraged to pursue informal resolution before filing a formal grievance with the ADA/504 Compliance Officer. DSS is available to facilitate informal resolution. The Associate Director and the Assistant Director are available to discuss student concerns regarding accommodations and services for students with disabilities. There is no requirement that students attempt informal resolution before filing a formal grievance; however, experience has shown that the majority of grievances can be effectively resolved through the informal process.


IV.     Filing a Grievance

1.     Filing a Formal Grievance

Students who believe they have been subjected to unlawful discrimination on the basis of disability may file a formal grievance with UAB’s ADA/504 Compliance Officer. Claims may also be submitted anonymously to the UAB Ethics Hotline at 1-866-362-9476. For more information on the UAB Ethics Hotline, click here. Grievances submitted to the ADA/504 Compliance Officer should be in writing and contain information as requested on the ADA/504 Formal Grievance Form. Alternative means of filing grievances, such as personal interviews or a recording, will be made available for persons with disabilities upon request. Any concerns regarding conflict of interest should be brought to the attention of the ADA/504 Compliance Officer when the grievance is filed. The ADA/504 Compliance Officer may appoint a designee as appropriate to serve in their place. The grievance should be submitted by the Complainant2 and/or their designee as soon as possible but no later than 60 calendar days after the alleged violation to:

Allison B. Solomon, ADA/504 Compliance Officer
Hill Student Center, Suite 409
1400 University Blvd,
Birmingham, AL 35294
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

2.     Investigation

After receipt of the grievance, the Respondent3 will be notified of the investigation in a timely manner. The ADA/504 Compliance Officer or their designee will meet with the Complainant for an interview. Prior to the interview and to the extent possible, the Complainant should provide the ADA/504 Compliance Officer with any documentary evidence that may be relevant to the grievance. After interviewing the Complainant, the ADA/504 Compliance Officer or their designee may interview the responding party and any witnesses offered by either party. All parties involved in the investigation are expected to cooperate and provide truthful information throughout the investigation process. At the conclusion of all interviews and after reviewing any documentary evidence, the ADA/504 Compliance Officer or their designee will respond in writing to the involved parties, in a format accessible to the parties, with the investigation results and any corrective actions, as applicable. If indicated by the ADA/504 Compliance officer or their designee, the investigation results must be signed and returned to the ADA/504 Compliance Officer or their designee.

 

3.     Appeal

If the response by the ADA/504 Compliance Officer or their designee does not satisfactorily resolve the issue raised in the grievance, either party may appeal the decision within 15 calendar days after receipt of the response to the Assistant Vice President for Student Health & Wellbeing or their designee. Any concerns regarding conflict of interest should be brought to the attention of the Assistant Vice President for Student Health & Wellbeing when the appeal is filed. The Assistant Vice President for Student Health & Wellbeing may appoint a designee as appropriate to serve in their place.

Within 15 calendar days after receipt of the appeal, the Assistant Vice President for Student Health & Wellbeing or their designee may meet with either party to discuss the grievance and possible resolutions, if necessary. Within 15 calendar days after the meeting, the Assistant Vice President for Student Health & Wellbeing or their designee will respond in writing, and, where appropriate, in a format accessible to the parties, with a final resolution of the grievance.


V.     Confidentiality

Investigations initiated under this grievance procedure shall be conducted confidentially to the extent possible, and in compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”). All participants in the process will be advised of their obligation to maintain confidentiality.


VI.     Protection from Retaliation

Retaliation4 against an individual who, in good faith, complains about or participates in an investigation of an allegation of disability discrimination or harassment is prohibited. Claims of retaliation are reviewed separate and apart from the initial discrimination grievance. Individuals who feel they have been retaliated against, or have been threatened with retaliation, should report that allegation immediately to the ADA/504 Compliance Officer or their designee. The ADA/504 Compliance Officer or their designee will communicate with the Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, the Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer, and/or the University Compliance Office as appropriate. Claims of retaliation may also be reported to the UAB Ethics Hotline at 1-866-362-9476.


VII.     Document Retention

All written grievances received by the ADA/504 Compliance Officer or their designee, appeals to the Assistant Vice President for Student Health & Wellbeing or their designee, and responses from these two offices will be retained by UAB for at least seven years.


1 Harassment, as defined by UAB’s Equal Opportunity and Discriminatory Harassment Policy, is verbal, physical, or graphic conduct that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual or group on the basis of disability and has the effect of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive employment, educational, or living environment; or has the effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or a student’s academic performance. For more information, see https://www.uab.edu/policies/content/Pages/UAB-BT-POL-0000052.aspx

2 An individual filing a grievance under these procedures alleging a violation of the Equal Opportunity and Discriminatory Harassment Policy.

3 UAB, or its employees or agents, alleged to be responsible for the violation(s) alleged under these procedures and UAB’s Equal Opportunity and Discriminatory Harassment Policy.

4 An adverse action(s) taken against an individual who makes a Good Faith report of Wrongful Conduct or who participates in an investigation. For more information, see https://www.uab.edu/policies/content/Pages/UAB-UC-POL-0000763.aspx