Employment Law

Disability Discrimination

LegalSpeak: Fox v. General Motors Corp. (4th Cir. 2001)

In fact, the ADA mandates that “[n]o covered entity shall discriminate against a qualified individual with a disability because of the disability of such individual in regard to job application procedures, the hiring, advancement, or discharge of employees, employee compensation, job training, and other terms, conditions, and privileges of employment.” 42 U.S.C. § 12112(a) (emphasis added). The Supreme Court has expressly held that very similar language creates a cause of action for hostile work environment under Title VII…. For these reasons, we have little difficulty in concluding that the ADA, like Title VII, creates a cause of action for hostile work environment harassment. Cf. Crawford v. Medina Gen. Hosp., 96 F.3d 830, 834 (6th Cir.1996) (concluding that a hostile work environment claim is actionable under the ADEA because of the use of the “terms, conditions, or privileges of employment” language and “the general similarity of purpose shared by Title VII and the ADEA”). This view appears to be sanctioned by the EEOC, whose regulations implementing the ADA state that “[i]t is unlawful to coerce, intimidate, threaten, harass or interfere with any individual in the exercise or enjoyment of … any right granted or protected by” the employment provisions of the ADA. 29 C.F.R. § 1630.12(b) (emphasis added). We further note that several of our sister circuits have assumed that the ADA includes a cause of action for hostile environment harassment modeled after the Title VII cause of action.


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