OFFICE OF DISABILITY SERVICES

FACULTY AND STAFF

  • Treat disability-related information the same way as medical information – with the new HIPAA Law requirements this has specific meanings and serious legal and financial penalties for not following the provisions of the law which was designed specifically to protect the privacy of medical records and the patients they pertain to. The information includes documentation required to provide proof of disability and to request accommodations.

  • Disability-related information should be collected and maintained on separate forms from other forms at the college/university. It should be kept in secure files with limited access. Thus, faculty have no right to demand access to the actual documentation , test scores, counseling records, dates, or the names of the professionals who provided such information.

  • The disclosure of unnecessary, specific disability-related information to those without a legal right to know may have the unintended consequence of increasing the institution’s and/or individual faculty member’s or administrator’s vulnerability to charges of retaliation, harassment, or animus (hostility).

  • If data are being collected such as how many students are being served, types of disabilities and accommodations used, etc., personally identifying information on the students does not need to be included with the data.

  • Be careful that listings of students with disabilities are not circulated throughout the institution.

  • Related to computer records, information regarding the disability needs of a student should be managed carefully: shared files need to have password protection.

  • Do not send out memos to students with disabilities via a multiple address listing: it could lead to a violation of confidentiality by revealing the names of students to each other.

  • Regarding FERPA (the Buckley Amendment), faculty may have access to students’ educational records, but treatment and disability records are exempt from that requirement.