Insult to Injury?

Is the Supreme Court letting some of the air out of the ADA?
Magazine Contributor
2 min read

This story appears in the December 2002 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

When Congress passed the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), it left a lot open to interpretation. And interpret it is just what the Supreme Court has done.

The court handed down four decisions regarding the ADA this year. Two rulings-Barnes v. Gorman and U.S. Airways v. Barnett-apply to state and local governments and unionized employers, respectively. In Toyota v. Williams, the court further defined disability by finding that an individual seeking ADA coverage-in this case, for carpal tunnel syndrome-must show the impairment substantially limits everyday activities. In Chevron v. Eschazbal, the court ruled that a company may refuse to hire a person with a disability if the job could worsen the condition.

"In Chevron, the court made a statement that companies shouldn't have to risk violating OSHA," says Condon A. McGlothlen, partner and chair of the ADA taskforce at law firm Seyfarth Shaw in Chicago. "It's not a green light to [use] screening devices, but it gives employers breathing room."

Stay the course, advises Richard J. Reibstein, a partner in the Employment Practices Services at law firm Wolf, Block, Schorr and Solis-Cohen LLP in New York City. Overall, he predicts, these decisions will have little effect, because as a small employer, you have to contend with state and local laws that can be more protective of employees.

Continue to do your best to accommodate the disabled, Reibstein says. Document all reasonable accommodation discussions, and be clear about job requirements. "Don't change anything," he says. "There's more than one layer of regulation."

Contact Sources

More from Entrepreneur

Grow Your Business at Entrepreneur LIVE! Join us on Nov. 16 in Brooklyn, NY, to learn from legends like Danica Patrick and Maria Sharapova, pitch our editors, meet with investors, and potentially walk away with funding!
Register here

One-on-one online sessions with our experts can help you start a business, grow your business, build your brand, fundraise and more.
Book Your Session

Whether you are launching or growing a business, we have all the business tools you need to take your business to the next level, in one place.
Enroll Now

Latest on Entrepreneur

My Queue

There are no Videos in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any video to save to your queue.

There are no Articles in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any article to save to your queue.

There are no Podcasts in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any podcast episode to save to your queue.

You're not following any authors.

Click the Follow button on any author page to keep up with the latest content from your favorite authors.