Los Angeles, CA asked in Civil Rights for California

Q: Is it disability discrimination to not let a wheelchair person go university because got a D in science course?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Eric Gene Young
Eric Gene Young PRO label
  • Santa Rosa, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Not necessarily. In order for an adverse action by a university against a student to be "disability discrimination," the motivating factor in the action take by the university must be related to the disability. If the university is not letting you continue because you got a D in a course, and perhaps fell below an acceptable academic standard for the school, that is not disability discrimination. The fact you are disabled cannot be used to put you in a better position than if you were a non-disabled person. Of course, this presumes the university has used some objective criteria, such as grades, as the basis for its decision in your case.

Now, having said all that, a more interesting question is whether the fact you got a D in your science course was the result of the university's failure to accommodate your disability. Did you request any sort of accommodations that would have assisted you in succeeding in the course, and these requests were denied by the university? If so, you might have a case for failure to accommodate a known disability, which is another form of disability discrimination under federal law. It would also violate California's Unruh Civil Rights Act, among other statutes.

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