Is The Inability To Have Sex A Protected Disability?
I see I really got your attention with this title! I pulled this from the internet and thought you might get a kick out of this. I tell you, just when I thought that I have seen it all, up jumps another far reaching decision.
Human Resources Executive Online recently published an article by author Mark McGraw on the Kathy E. Adams vs. Condoleezza Rice decision by the DC Circuit and the recent trend of expanding the protections of the ADA. CDF LLP Partner Mark S. Spring was quoted in the article about the difficulties employers face in managing these disability issues and the need for skilled human resources professionals to help train managers and supervisors to recognize and properly deal with these issues. Click here for article: http://www.hreonline.com/HRE/story.jsp?storyId=115377289.
In Adams v. Rice, the plaintiff, a cancer survivor, claimed she was limited in a major life activity because she was unable to have sexual relations. The issue in the case was whether such limitation would enable the plaintiff, Adams, to qualify as a “disabled” individual. After holding that sex is “a cornerstone of family and marital life, a conduit to emotional and spiritual fulfillment, and a crucial element of intimate relationships…,” the Court of Appeals reversed the granting of summary judgment and held that Adams has proven that she has a record of disability as a result of her limitation. Cases like Adams v. Rice, combined with the looming ADA Amendments Act of 2008 http://www.callaborlaw.com/archives/new-laws-legislation-congress-attempting-to-expand-americans-with-disabilities-act-protections.html, illustrate the trend to expand the ADA’s protections to an unprecedented level that is far beyond what Congress and former President Bush intended when the law was enacted in 1991.
Look for disability discrimination to remain a hot button issue and major challenge for employers in the next few years.