Ada Lawsuits Essay

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UPDATE ON DISABILITY DISCRIMINATION: Emerging Issues Affecting the Public & Private Sector By Sheryl J. Willert and Jessie L. Harris WILLIAMS KASTNER 601 Union Street, Suite 4100 Seattle, WA 98101 (206) 628-6600 2123008.1 I. DISPARATE TREATMENT CLAIMS UNDER THE ADA & WLAD The ADA was enacted by Congress in 1990 with the stated purpose of eliminating discrimination against persons with disabilities in the workplace and in places open to the public. 42 U.S.C. § 12101. The Act applies to private, state or local government employers with 15 or more employees for at least 20 weeks. Title I of the ADA prohibits a covered employer from discriminating against a “qualified individual with a disability”1 on the basis of such disability in regards to job application procedures, hiring, promotions, discharge, compensation, training, or any other terms or privileges of employment. See 42 U.S.C. § 12112(a). In order to establish a prima facie claim for discrimination under the ADA it must be demonstrated that the employee: 1) is disabled as defined under the ADA; 2) is qualified to perform the essential functions of the position occupied or the position sought; and 3) suffered an adverse action because of his or her disability. Walton v. U.S. Marshal Service, 492 F.3d 998 (9th Cir. 2007); Wilking v. County of Ramsey, 153 F.3d 869 (8th Cir 1998). The same burden-shifting scheme that applies in other employment discrimination actions applies to ADA claims. See McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green, 411 U.S. 792 (1973). Once the employee establishes her prima facie case, the burden shifts to the employer to set forth a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for the adverse action. If the employer meets this burden, the burden then shifts back to the employee to demonstrate that the employer’s reason is simply pretext for discrimination. Id. at 804. Similar to the ADA, a

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