Seth D. Harris & Michael Ashley Stein, Workplace Disabilities, in Labor and Employment Law and Economics (Kenneth G. Gau-Schmidt, Seth D. Harris & Orly Lobel eds., 2009).
Abstract: The key United States law regulating employment discrimination against employees with disabilities is the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Title I of the ADA prohibits employment discrimination against any 'qualified individual with a disability'. This proscription includes traditional prohibitions of 'disparate treatment' and 'disparate impact'. Another form of employment discrimination prohibited by the ADA is the failure to provide a 'reasonable' workplace 'accommodation' to a qualified individual with a disability. The statute defines those individuals as workers who are capable of performing the essential job functions of the respective positions sought, either with or without provision of reasonable accommodations. Because reasonable accommodations are the focus of scholarly and political debate over the ADA, while also being the main innovation in disability employment discrimination worldwide, this chapter focuses on accommodations. Although the ADA is a United States statute, it has had considerable influence on disability-related employment laws internationally. This is true for systemic national laws such as the United Kingdom's Disability Discrimination Act that are closely modeled on the ADA as well as for international acts that borrow specific concepts from the ADA (Stein and Stein 2007). Notably, the ADA's reasonable accommodation mandate has been adopted by the United Nations.