Student Note on the ADA Beyond an Employer's Front Door
Just out: Scott C. Thompson, Note, Open for Business: The ADA Beyond an Employer's Front Door, 18 Tex. Wesleyan L. Rev. 383 (2011). The abstract:
Although heralded as an emancipation proclamation for people with disabilities, the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) has done little over the course of its twenty-year history to increase the number or quality of employment opportunities available to individuals with a disability. Title I of the ADA requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for qualified employees with a disability so long as the accommodations do not impose an undue hardship on the employer. In applying Title I of the ADA, courts consistently drew a bright line at the employer's threshold and refused to compel employers to make any accommodations unrelated to the workplace.
Frustrated by the ADA's lackluster results, Congress enacted the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 to extend coverage to individuals who had previously been denied ADA protection as the result of two Supreme Court decisions, which had narrowly defined who qualified as disabled for ADA purposes. Then in 2010, two court of appeals decisions blurred the once bright line excluding non-workplace accommodations when those courts held that an accommodation unrelated to the workplace but related to an employee's ability to get to the workplace may be required by the ADA.
This Comment discusses the history of the ADA; the recent extension of the ADA's mandate to include commute-related accommodations; and the net-negative effect this extension is likely to have on disabled employees, disabled job applicants, and businesses.