Disability Policies and Laws

Columbia University’s Commitment to Equal Opportunity and Non Discrimination for Individuals with Disabilities

As set forth in Columbia University's Employee Policies and Procedures on Discrimination, Harassment, Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence and Stalking, the University does not discriminate against or permit harassment of employees or applicants for employment on the basis of disability.  These policies and procedures apply to all of its personnel decisions, including recruitment, hiring, promotions, compensation, benefits, transfers, terminations, and layoffs, and to all terms and conditions of employment.

Complaints alleging discrimination or harassment on the basis of disability against employees are governed by the Employee Policies and Procedures on Discrimination, Harassment, Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence and Stalking.

Affirmative Action for Individuals with Disabilities

As a recipient of federal contracts in excess of $10,000, Columbia University is a federal contractor subject to the requirements of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, as amended, which requires that all federal contractors holding a contract with the federal government in excess of $10,000 "take affirmative action to employ and advance in employment qualified individuals with disabilities."  The U.S. Department of Labor enforces this statute and its implementing regulations – which may be found in Chapter 60 of Title 41 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 60-741.41 et seq. – and requiresfederal contractors with a contract of $10,000 or more to prepare and implement a written Affirmative Action Program for individuals with disabilities.

In furtherance of these federal mandates, Columbia University has prepared and implemented Affirmative Action Programs for Individuals with Disabilities for its Morningside Campus, for its CUMC campus and for the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory Campus.  These Programs are designed to enhance the opportunities of qualified individuals with disabilities.

For purposes of these Programs, the following terms and definitions apply:

            • Individual with a Disability refers to any person who (i) has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more of such person's major life activities; (ii) has a record of such an impairment; or (iii) is regarded as having such an impairment.


            • Qualified Individual with a Disability refers to an individual with a disability who satisfies the requisite skill, experience, education and other job-related requirements of the employment position such individual holds or desires, and who, with or without reasonable accommodation, can perform the essential functions of such position.


            • Special Disabled Veterans refers to (i) a Veteran entitled to compensation (or who but for the receipt of military retired pay would be entitled to compensation) under the laws administered by the Department of Veterans' Affairs for disability who is rated at 30% or more, or is rated at 10 or 20 percent in the case of a Veteran who has been determined under Section 3106 of Title 38, U.S.C. to have a serious employment handicap; or (ii) a person who was discharged or released from active duty because of a service-connected disability.

Copies of the Programs are available in the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action.