This Article will examine whether Congress erred in enacting the ADAAA to include the provision that mitigating measures will not be taken into account when determining whether an individual is disabled under prong one of the ADA's disability definition. With the incorporation of this language, Congress took away the individualized assessment necessary for ADA interpretation and replaced it with a per se disabled format for particular conditions, such as diabetes and epilepsy. Simply stated, the ADAAA approach to the mitigating measures analysis, which negated the individualized disability assessment that Congress envisioned, does not promote the best possible determination of whether an individual should be covered under prong one of the ADAAA. Part II of this article will explore the purpose of the ADA, which is to protect individuals who are truly disabled from discrimination in the workplace. Part III will discuss the court decisions that rely upon and reject consideration of mitigating measures in an effort to determine whether an individual was disabled under prong one of the ADA. Part IV will discuss the judicial narrowing of the ADA with an in-depth discussion of the Supreme Court's decision in Sutton v. United States Air Lines, Inc. The Court's treatment of mitigating measures will be explored, particularly Sutton's groundbreaking holding that for purposes of the ADA an individual's disability status should be made with regard to mitigating measures that are utilized to contrlol that person's otherwise disabling impairment. Finally, in Part V, the Article will discuss the changes mandated by the ADAAA and address whether Congress has erred in enacting those changes. This Part will examine the Washington court's disability analysis of first categorizing mitigating measures according to seriousness and type, and then making the determination of whether a finding of disability under prong one is appropriate. This is the proper approach to disability analysis because it promotes the individualized inquiry that is necessary for a proper prong one interpretation of the ADAAA's disability definition. The foundational query will be whether the ADAAA's broader definition of the term disabled will inevitably generate a flood of litigation by individuals who should not be protected under prong one of the ADAAA. This article is not meant to address every change mandated by Congress with the passage of the ADAAA. Nor is this article meant to determine who should and should not be considered disabled under prong one of the ADAAA. Rather, the Article is meant to explore the narrow issue of the effect of congressional action in rejecting consideration of mitigating measures when determining an individual's disability status under prong one of the ADAAA.
Amelia M. Joiner,
The ADAAA: Opening the Floodgates,
San Diego L. Rev.
Available at: https://digital.sandiego.edu/sdlr/vol47/iss2/3