Episode 42: Food Allergies and The Rights of Individuals with Allergy-Related Disabilities Under the ADA

Wednesday, March 1, 2017 - 1:00 pm EST

Corinne Gilliam - Disability Services Specialist, Vanderbilt University 
Pamela Williamson - Assistant Project Director, Southeast ADA Center


A food allergy may be considered a disability under federal laws, such as Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). A disability as defined by the ADA is a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits a major life activity, such as eating. Major life activities also include major bodily functions, such as the functions of the gastrointestinal system. Some individuals with food allergies have a disability as defined by ADA, particularly those with more significant or severe responses to certain foods. 

Join us as Pamela Williamson shares her personal story regarding food allergies and provides recommendations regarding requesting accommodations. In addition, Corinne Gilliam, Disability Services Specialist at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, discusses  how Vanderbilt University addresses food allergies and discusses how the settlement agreement between the U.S. Department of Justice and Lesley University in Massachusetts helped to increase awareness among higher education professionals that food allergies and celiac disease may qualify as a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).