Harris v forklift systems inc 21 nyu r ev l s oc c

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Harris v. Forklift Systems, Inc. ? , 21 N.Y.U. R EV . L. & S OC . C HANGE 357 (1994). 139. Johnson, supra note 137. 140. Id. at 111 34. 141. Id. at 85. 142. 42 U.S.C. § 12101 (2012) (explaining, in the purpose and findings sections, that one of the goals of the ADA is “to provide a clear and comprehensive national mandate for the elimination of discrimination against individuals with disabilities”). 143. Ravitch & Freeman, supra note 126. 144. Id. at 144–47. 145. 527 U.S. 471 (1999). 146. 527 U.S. 516 (1999).
02.R AVITCH .FIN (D O N OT D ELETE ) 8/4/2016 6:07 PM 55 Be Careful What You Wish for 77 disability” should be determined based on the individual’s unmitigated condition (that is, the condition without regard to medication or prosthetics) or the individual’s mitigated condition. 147 This question is especially important because if the determination is made based on the mitigated condition, many individuals with disabilities will not be covered by the ADA. Therefore, these individuals would be unable to request accommodation for disabilities even where failure to accommodate would exacerbate the disability to the point that the disability is no longer mitigated by medication. 148 Prior to the Court’s decisions in Sutton and Murphy, the answer seemed clear. 149 Mitigating measures such as medications and prosthetics were not to be considered in determining whether someone is disabled for ADA purposes. 150 In fact, all three agencies charged with implementing the ADA, and most of the courts that had addressed the issue, considered this threshold question a straightforward one. 151 This view was supported by substantial legislative history. 152 The Court disregarded all of this, and held over strong dissents in both cases that the plain meaning of the law required mitigating measures to be considered in disability determinations. 153 This was a huge rollback of ADA protection, but it is only one of many examples. The Court’s decisions in these cases effectively precluded many individuals with disabilities from getting accommodations under the ADA if their disabilities are controlled by mitigating measures such as medications, unless they can show that they are “regarded as disabled” under the ADA, an argument that the Court also substantially limited. 154 Ironically, as a result of these individuals not being considered disabled, employers could plausibly discriminate against them based on their impairments without 147. Ravitch & Freeman, supra note 41. 148. Id. at 121–22, 137–50. 149. Id. at 137–45. 150. Id. at 142–47. 151. Id. at 122–23. 152. Id. at 146–47. 153. Id. at 124–33. 154. Id. at 147–50.
02.R AVITCH .FIN (D O N OT D ELETE ) 8/4/2016 6:07 PM B RIGHAM Y OUNG U NIVERSITY L AW R EVIEW 2016 78 running afoul of the ADA. 155 These decisions seem odd given that Title I of the ADA is to be interpreted broadly to prevent employment discrimination based on unfounded stereotypes of disabilities and disabled individuals.

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