Rosenthal on Associational Discrimination and the ADA
Just posted on SSRN: Lawrence D. Rosenthal, Association Discrimination Under the Americans with Disabilities Act: Another Uphill Battle for Potential ADA Plaintiffs, 22 Hofstra Lab. & Emp. J. ___ (forthcoming). The abstract:
This article discusses the association provision of the ADA, which gives plaintiffs a cause of action when they are discriminated against because of an association or relationship with a disabled individual. Typical plaintiffs in this situation include the spouses, caregivers and advocates for disabled patients. Although President Bush praised the ADA as a "landmark" piece of legislation, it has accomplished practically nothing to help association plaintiffs seeking relief from their employers.
In almost all association cases, plaintiffs' claims have fallen well before trial on the merits. The article discusses how various association claims under the ADA have failed, but similar claims under the FMLA and ERISA have proven at least somewhat successful. The author suggests these statutes - as well as state anti-discrimination laws - as avenues for bringing future association claims.