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Insult to Injury?

Is the Supreme Court letting some of the air out of the ADA?

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.

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