Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Francis on Employment and Intellectual Disability

New on Westlaw: Leslie Pickering Francis, Employment and Intellectual Disability, 8 J. Gender Race & Just. 299 (2004). From the introduction:

This essay begins with an overview of the problem of employment for people with life-long intellectual impairments. It then argues for the importance of employment for people with cognitive impairments. Although a number of commentators have addressed the case for employment of people with disabilities generally, less has been said about employment of people with intellectual disabilities specifically. The essay then explores anti-discriminationism, welfarism, and assumptions about the structure of employment as explanations of why current ADA jurisprudence has left people with intellectual impairments largely unprotected. The analysis focuses on several recently reported decisions in employment discrimination claims brought by people with intellectual impairments. These decisions raise typical problems concerning employment discrimination for people with intellectual disabilities. In these cases, courts make assumptions about the structure of employment and what it means to be a qualified employee that disadvantage people with intellectual disabilities. This essay thus defends the third interpretation-- that courts have failed to understand the structure of work--as an unexplored possibility for many people with intellectual impairments: as long as anti-discrimination policy is seen as applying to individual employees and employers, people with intellectual disabilities remain at risk of clustering at the third vertex, erroneously and dishearteningly viewed as unqualified for employment they seek.


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