Disability under the ADA

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) published a report March 9 on the definition of disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA, codified in 42 U.S.C. §§12101 et seq., defines disability with respect to an individual as "(A) a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of such individual; (B) a record of such an impairment; or C) being regarded as having such an impairment." (42 U.S.C. §12102)

The study discusses five U.S. Supreme Court decisions addressing "disability": Bragdon v. Abbot (1998; HIV); Sutton v. United Airlines (1999; pilot's vision); Murphy v. United Parcel Service (1999; commercial driver's high blood pressure); Albertsons, Inc. v. Kirkingburg (1999; truck driver's vision); and Toyota Motor Manufacturing v. Williams (2002; carpal tunnel syndrome).

The report also reviews lower court decisions interpreting the Supreme Court's rulings in the areas of: mitigating measures, major life activity of working, "history of" an impairment, and being "regarded as" having an impairment.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): The Definition of Disability, CRS Report RL33304
(pdf, 64KB, 14p., from Open CRS)

Related CRS report:

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): Statutory Language and Recent Issues, CRS Report 98-921A, updated April 23, 2003 (pdf, 192KB, 45p., from the U.S. Dept. of State)

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