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Disability Law Commons

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Full-Text Articles in Disability Law

The Tort Label, Sandra F. Sperino Jan 2014

The Tort Label, Sandra F. Sperino

Faculty Articles and Other Publications

Courts and commentators often label federal discrimination statutes as torts. Since the late 1980s, the courts increasingly applied tort concepts to these statutes. This Article discusses how courts placed employment discrimination law within the organizational umbrella of tort law without examining whether the two areas share enough theoretical and doctrinal affinities.

While discrimination statutes are torts in some general sense that they do not arise out of criminal law and are not solely contractual, it is far from clear that these statutes are enough like traditional torts to justify the reflexive and automatic use of tort law. Employment discrimination statutes ...


Designing A Flexible World For The Many: "Essential Functions" And Title I Of The Americans With Disabilities Act, Michael J. Powers Jan 2014

Designing A Flexible World For The Many: "Essential Functions" And Title I Of The Americans With Disabilities Act, Michael J. Powers

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

This Note explores how courts interpret the meaning of “essential functions” under Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act. To be protected under the ADA, a plaintiff must be able to perform the “essential functions” of her job with or without a reasonable accommodation. In general, courts follow one of two approaches when interpreting this phrase. The first approach narrowly focuses on the employer’s judgment regarding which functions are essential. The second approach considers the employer’s judgment, but looks beyond to consider the broader employment relationship. This Note argues that these different approaches have led to varying ...