ODU Settles with Justice Department on Discrimination and Retaliation Investigation

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The Justice Department has settled with Old Dominion University (ODU) to resolve its investigation into a complaint that the school discriminated and retaliated against a graduate student based on disability and her related request for reasonable modifications of policy, according to Justice Department officials

Findings state that the complainant was punished for requesting acknowledgement of her right to reasonable modifications of policy, which indicates a violation of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

ODU ended the student’s working relationship with her professor-adviser, removed the student from the professor’s lab, separated her from ongoing research and withdrew her participation at a professional conference, forcing the student to change her academic course and find a new adviser.

As part of the settlement, ODU must explain ADA and Section 504 requirements to staff and faculty and state that violations will lead to consequences – such as firing – provide ADA training to employees and pay $40,000 in damages to the complainant.