Special Observance
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Special Observances.

Special observances were designed for the purpose of providing cultural awareness to everyone. Commemorative activities conducted for these observances should be educational and employment-related.

The following are Special Emphasis Observances implemented by Presidential Proclamation, Executive Orders and Public Law . 

The birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.; African American Heritage; Women's History; Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month; Asian Pacific Americans; Women's Equality Day; Hispanic Americans; Disability Employment Awareness Month; American Indian/Alaskan Native Heritage and Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month.  

Each month the page will be updated to reflect information relative to that months special observance.


 ent to a robust and competitive American labor force, the 2018 National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) theme is "America’s Workforce: Empowering All."

Observed each October, NDEAM celebrates the contributions of workers with disabilities and educates about the value of a workforce inclusive of their skills and talents.

The observance also emphasizes the importance of guaranteeing that all Americans have access to the services and supports to enable them to work.

NDEAM dates back to 1945, when Congress declared the first week in October "National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week."

In the 1950s, disabled veterans and other people with disabilities begin the barrier-free movement. The combined efforts of the U.S. Veterans Administration, the President’s Committee on Employment of the Handicapped and the National Easter Seals Society, among others, result in the development of national standards for "barrier-free" buildings.

The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 marks a major step forward in legislation impacting the employment of people with disabilities, extending and revising state Vocational Rehabilitation services and prohibiting discrimination on the basis of disability by federally funded and assisted programs, federal employers and federal contractors.

In 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is signed into law. Modeled on the Civil Rights Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the ADA stems from collective efforts by advocates in the preceding decades and is the most comprehensive disability rights legislation in history.

NDEAM is an opportunity to reaffirm the University's commitment to recruit, retain, and advance individuals with disabilities. By EMPOWERING ALL, Austin Peay State University continues to build an inclusive workforce resulting in total force readiness.

 How do I know if I have a disability?

The ADA has a three-pronged definition of disability. If any of the three prongs are satisfied, the individual counts as disabled. Those three prongs are:

You are considered to have a disability if you have a physical or mental impairment or medical condition that substantially limits a major life activity, or if you have a history or record of such an impairment or medical condition. Some examples of these life activities include:

The ADA defines a physical impairment as a physiological disorder or condition, anatomical loss, or cosmetic disfigurement that impacts one or more of these body systems

The ADA defines a mental impairment as any psychological or mental disorder, such as emotional or mental illness, mental retardation, organic brain syndrome, and learning disabilities. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and ADA regulations do not offer a list of all the specific conditions that are considered impairments because it is difficult to be comprehensive. Also, it will be difficult to include the new disorders that may develop in the future.

The ADA did include examples of covered mental and physical impairments. Some of these impairments include

Cancer, multiple sclerosis, and other serious impairments are not considered disabilities.

Under the ADA, an impairment needs to be a physiological or mental disorder. Depression, stress, and similar conditions are only sometimes considered impairments under the ADA. Whether depression and stress are considered impairments depends on if they result from a documented mental or physiological disorder or if they result from personal life or job pressures. The impairment must substantially limit at least one major life activity. 


Austin Peay State University strives to help people with disabilities get back into the workforce. Completing the Voluntary Identification form in no way lets others know about your disability. The Human Resources office merely updates your personnel file with a simple check mark. There is no disclosure of the nature of your disability, your medical condition or anything about your medical history.

Each year APSU must submit a report to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the state of Tennessee that indicates how many persons with disabilities are employed here. As you can understand this is very difficult when we do not have an accurate number. Additionally, in the area of recruitment or retention we do not know if we are reaching the persons with disabilities market with job openings if they do not identify themselves.


A reasonable accommodation is assistance or changes to a position or workplace that will enable an employee to do his or her job despite having a disability. Under the ADA, employers are required to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified employees with disabilities, unless doing so would pose an undue hardship.


If you are a student with disabilities you would request information through The Office of Disability Services (ODS). The Office of Disability Services (ODS) provides services for students with physical, mental, or learning disabilities.

If you are an employee you would contact Mrs. Sheila M. Bryant, ADA Coordinator at bryantsm@apsu.edu or (931) 221-7178. You should fill out the Reasonable Accommodation Request Form and email it to Mrs. Bryant