Please update your browser

You're using a version of Internet Explorer that isn't supported by Questia.
To get a better experience, go to one of these sites and get the latest
version of your preferred browser:

Mind Matters: Mental Disability and the History and Future of the Americans with Disabilities Act

By Concannon, James | Law and Psychology Review, Annual 2012 | Go to article overview

Mind Matters: Mental Disability and the History and Future of the Americans with Disabilities Act


Concannon, James, Law and Psychology Review


ABSTRACT

This Article examines the history of protections afforded individuals alleging mental disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and the protections such individuals will receive under the ADA going forward in light of the ADA Amendments Act of 2008, which substantially amended the ADA. The Article specifically focuses on Title I of the ADA, which governs discrimination in employment against individuals with disabilities. While the Article concludes that it is reasonable to suspect that coverage for potential Title I ADA plaintiffs alleging mental disabilities will be broader post-Amendments Act, it also finds that it is unclear whether individuals with such disabilities will experience the same increase in coverage as those alleging physical disabilities will likely enjoy. This potential divergence stems from the lack of amendment of particular provisions of the Act that have disproportionately disqualified individuals with mental impairments from coverage, and from the continuing stigma attached to mental disabilities.

INTRODUCTION

This paper discusses the history and substance of the original Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 ("ADA"), (1) the motivations for the passage of the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 ("ADAAA"), (2) the substantive changes effected by ADAAA, and the history and future of coverage for individuals asserting mental disabilities under the original ADA and the post-Amendments Act ADA. Although generally applicable provisions of the ADA are discussed throughout, this paper specifically focuses on Title I of the ADA, which governs discrimination in employment. (3)

Part I of this paper considers the origins of the ADA and the inclusion of mental disabilities under the Act as well as important provisions and definitions within the original Act that have given many courts pause. Part II covers the events surrounding the passage of the ADAAA and the major changes to the ADA effected by the amendments. Part III concerns the successes and failures of plaintiffs alleging mental disabilities under the pre-Amendments Act, barriers faced by such plaintiffs under the original ADA, the potential impact of the ADAAA on plaintiffs alleging mental disability, and remaining issues for individuals alleging such discrimination in a post-Amendments Act legal landscape.

I. AN INTRODUCTION TO THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT

A. Origins of the ADA and Mental Health Coverage

On July 26, 1990, after years of effort from disability rights advocates and their allies, President George H.W. Bush signed the ADA into law. The passage of the ADA came a long and frustrating seventeen years after the passage of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, [section] 504 of which banned discrimination against individuals on the basis of disability by recipients of federal funds. (4) Section 504 was modeled on civil rights laws like Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which banned discrimination based on "race, color, religion, sex, or national origin." (5) For the first time in the United States, the law viewed the exclusion, segregation, and mistreatment of individuals with disabilities as discrimination, rather than as an ineluctable consequence of the impairments the disabilities themselves had on those who possessed them.

The definition of disability found in the Rehabilitation Act, and subsequently adopted in a slightly modified form by the ADA, was not limited to those with physical disabilities. Instead, the original version of the Rehabilitation Act provided that "[t]he term 'handicapped individual' means any ... person who (A) has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more of such person's major life activities, (B) has a record of such an impairment, or (C) is regarded as having such an impairment." (6) Thus, individuals with mental disabilities were placed into the same protected "class" as individuals with limiting physical impairments.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Mind Matters: Mental Disability and the History and Future of the Americans with Disabilities Act
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.