IS RUDOLPH DISABLED?

Charging Party Rudolph files an EEOC charge alleging disability discrimination and harassment against his employer. His charge states:

I am Rudolph.  I am a long term employee at Santa’s Workshop in the North Pole, under the direct supervision of Santa Claus.   I have been discriminated against because of my actual disability (cosmetic disfigurement) and/or my perceived disability and/or a record of my disability (my disability has been documented in numerous stories and songs) in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.  I am in need of accommodations to do my job and my supervisor knows this—leading the other reindeer on Christmas Eve causes severe chapping of my nose due to consistently strong headwinds.  Further, I have been harassed by my coworkers who laugh, call me names, and exclude me from their reindeer games because of my disability in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act; the harassment I have endured is well known to all, even the children of our community.

Santa receives Rudolph’s charge of discrimination and is incredulous: How could Rudolph do this during the busiest time of year—doesn’t he know I have to check millions of boys’ and girls’ names on the list?  His charge isn’t accurate: in fact, all of the reindeer love Rudolph, they shouted out his name in glee!

What do you think: Is Rudolph Disabled? Does he require an accommodation? Use the checklist below to determine if Rudolph fits within the ADA/ ADAAA definition.
Definition of Disability (after January 1, 2009): A physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity, or a “record” of such a condition.  The ADA also covers an individual who has been “regarded as” having a disability, which mean that s/he was subjected to an alleged discriminatory action because of an impairment (unless the impairment was minor and transitory).

The Checklist:

DOES THE INDIVIDUAL HAVE A CURRENT DISABILITY

Does s/he have an impairment? Yes ____ No___

If yes, what is the impairment?_____________________

Is a major life activity affected by the impairment? Yes ___ No____

If yes, identify the major life activity:___________________________

(e.g., walking, speaking, breathing, hearing, seeing, thinking, standing, interacting with others, communicating, performing manual tasks, bending, caring for oneself, reading, sleeping, working, eating, or major bodily functions)

Does the impairment substantially limit the major life activity? Yes___ No______

Describe the limitation: ______________________________________________

(Discuss what the individual cannot do as well as what the individual is able to do.  Compare the individual’s ability/ limitations to those of the average person. Analyze the condition without medication, mitigating measures or behavioral modifications.)

How long is the condition expected to last?___________________________________

DOES THE INDIVIDUAL CLAIM S/HE HAS A “RECORD OF” A DISABILITY?

Does s/he have a record of an impairment? Yes ____ No___

If yes, what is the impairment?_____________________

Was a major life activity affected by the impairment? Yes ___ No____

If yes, identify the alleged major life activity:___________________________

(e.g., walking, speaking, breathing, hearing, seeing, thinking, standing, interacting with others, communicating, performing manual tasks, bending, caring for oneself, reading, sleeping, working, eating, or major bodily functions)

Did the impairment substantially limit the major life activity? Yes___ No______

Describe the limitation: ______________________________________________

(Discuss what the individual cannot do as well as what the individual is able to do.  Compare the individual’s ability/ limitations to those of the average person. Analyze the condition without medication, mitigating measures or behavioral modifications.)

How long did the condition last?___________________________________

HAS THE INDIVIDUAL BEEN “REGARDED AS” HAVING A DISABILITY?
Does s/he claim s/he has been “regarded as” having an impairment? Yes ____ No___

If yes, what is the impairment?_____________________

Does s/he claim that s/he has been subjected to an allegedly discriminatory employment action because of an actual or perceived impairment? Yes ____  No______

Is the impairment minor and transitory? Yes _____   No ____

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