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ODU Settles with Justice Department on Discrimination and Retaliation Investigation

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

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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.

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