The Americans with Disabilities Act

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) defines disability as mental and physical impairment that substantially hinders one to participate in major life activities. The ADA does not cover individuals with correctable disabilities such as eye impairments which can be corrected with eyeglasses. A good example is the case of Sutton V. United Airlines Inc (1999), the court dismissed twin sisters (the Suttons) that they were not disabled because their myopia was correctable by using eyeglasses (Department of Justice, 2016). The ADA covers people with non-correctible disabilities from discrimination in workplaces and also access to public places. Non-correctable disabilities are those that cannot be rectified with any means. According to ADA, a person should be able to prove that their condition is interfering with a major life activity such as walking, seeing, etc, but when the condition is corrected, they can continue to hold the position. A person who is identified to have a correctable disability they cannot seek legal redress under ADA claim, and they can be denied a position based on their disability. 

There were many discrimination court cases based on disability that went before the Supreme Court. The court had to give a clear guidance on those who are disabled and those who are not under ADA. Most of these landmark rulings that defined disability came in 1999, one of these cases is the aforementioned case between Sutton V. United Airlines Inc. The second case that defined disability was Vaughn L. Murphy v. United Parcel Service, Inc (1999). The petitioner in this case claimed that he had high blood pressure and he wanted to be regarded as disabled. The court found out that the petitioner functions normally and is only inhibited to lift heavy load when he is under medication; therefore, under ADA, he is not qualified to be disabled (Department of Justice, 2016). The previous case laws have defined what disability means under ADA: it means one has to prove that their condition hinders substantially a major activity to be protected under ADA and it is not correctable.


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