Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

Law Commons

Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

Articles 1 - 2 of 2

Full-Text Articles in Law

The Sympathetic Discriminator: Mental Illness, Hedonic Costs, And The Ada, Elizabeth F. Emens Jan 2006

The Sympathetic Discriminator: Mental Illness, Hedonic Costs, And The Ada, Elizabeth F. Emens

Faculty Scholarship

Social discrimination against people with mental illness is widespread. Treating people differently on the basis of mental illness does not provoke the same moral outrage as that inspired by differential treatment on the basis of race, sex, or even physical disability. Indeed, many people would freely admit preferring someone who does not have a mental illness as a neighbor, dinner party guest, parent, partner, or person in the next seat on the subway. Moreover, more than ten years after the Americans with Disabilities Act (the "ADA" or "Act") expressly prohibited private employers from discriminating on the basis of mental, as ...


The Sympathetic Discriminator: Mental Illness, Hedonic Costs, And The Ada, Elizabeth F. Emens Jan 2006

The Sympathetic Discriminator: Mental Illness, Hedonic Costs, And The Ada, Elizabeth F. Emens

Faculty Scholarship

Discrimination against people with mental illness occurs in part because of how those with mental illness can make other people feel. A psychotic person may make others feel agitated or afraid, for example, or a depressed person may make others feel sad or frustrated. Thus, a central basis for discrimination in this context is what I call hedonic costs. Hedonic costs are affective or emotional costs: an influx of negative emotion or loss of positive emotion. In addition, the phenomenon of emotional contagion, which is one source of hedonic costs, makes discrimination against people with mental illness peculiarly intractable. Emotional ...