Accommodating Every Body

68 Pages Posted: 25 Aug 2013 Last revised: 19 Apr 2016

Michael Ashley Stein

Visiting Professor, Harvard Law School; University of Pretoria Faculty of Law, Centre for Human Rights

Anita Silvers

San Francisco State University - Department of Philosophy

Bradley A. Areheart

University of Tennessee College of Law

Leslie P. Francis

University of Utah - S.J. Quinney College of Law

Date Written: May 8, 2014

Abstract

This Article contends that workplace accommodations should be predicated on need or effectiveness instead of group identity status. It proposes that, in principle, “accommodating every body” be achieved by extending Americans with Disabilities Act type reasonable accommodation to all work-capable members of the general population for whom accommodation is necessary to enable their ability to work. Doing so shifts the focus of accommodation disputes from the contentious identity-based contours of “disabled” plaintiffs to the core issue of alleged discrimination. This proposal likewise avoids current problems associated with excluding “unworthy” individuals from employment opportunity — people whose functional capacity does not comply with prevailing workforce design and organizational presumptions — and who therefore require accommodation. Adopting this proposal also responds to growing demands to extend the length of time people remain at work by enhancing employment opportunities for aging individuals still capable of contributing on the job. Provision of accommodations for age-related alteration of functionality, when the accommodations are effective, is reasonably prescribed because it is in everyone’s interest to retain maximum capabilities as they grow older, whether or not they also possess identity-based characteristics sufficient to constitute a “disability” under the ADA.

Keywords: disability, accommodations, discrimination, ADA, ADAAA, equality of opportunity

JEL Classification: J70, J71, J78, J79

Suggested Citation

Stein, Michael Ashley and Silvers, Anita and Areheart, Bradley A. and Francis, Leslie P., Accommodating Every Body (May 8, 2014). University of Chicago Law Review, Vol. 82, 2014; University of Tennessee Legal Studies Research Paper No. 218. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2315271

Michael Ashley Stein

Visiting Professor, Harvard Law School ( email )

1585 Massachussetts Avenue
Austin Hall 305
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-495-1726 (Phone)

University of Pretoria Faculty of Law, Centre for Human Rights ( email )

Private Bag X20
Hatfield 0028
Pretoria
South Africa

Anita Silvers

San Francisco State University - Department of Philosophy ( email )

1600 Holloway Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94132
United States

Bradley A. Areheart (Contact Author)

University of Tennessee College of Law ( email )

1505 West Cumberland Avenue
Knoxville, TN 37996
United States

Leslie P. Francis

University of Utah - S.J. Quinney College of Law ( email )

383 S. University Street
Salt Lake City, UT 84112-0730
United States

Paper statistics

Downloads
219
Rank
113,524
Abstract Views
2,707