This just in from Justice for All:
ADA Restoration Hearing - Help Pack the Room!
This Thursday, October 4, at 10:00am, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties will hold a hearing on ADA Restoration (H.R. 3195) in 2141 Rayburn. Please help us pack the room and show your support!!!
Thursday 10/04/2007 - 10:00 AM
2141 Rayburn House Office Building
Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and
Hearing on H.R. 3195, the "ADA Restoration Act of 2007"
Accessible Entrance: Main entrance, horseshoe drive off South Capitol Street
We are still trying to get more co-sponsors in the House bill, so please do continue to make calls to your Members, urging them to co-sponsor if they haven't already. For a complete list of sponsors, go here.
Below, you will find a few very brief stories from people whose lives have been impacted by the damage done by the Courts to the ADA. These brief stories powerfully capture the real need for ADA Restoration.
Why is ADA Restoration so important?
++Ask Charles Irvin Littleton, Jr.:
Charles Littleton is a 29-year-old man who was diagnosed with intellectual and developmental disabilities as a young child. A high school graduate with a certificate in special education, Charles lives at home with his mother and receives social security benefits. In an effort to work, Charles has been a client of several state agencies and public service organizations, including the Alabama Independent Living Center that provides vocational assistance to people with disabilities.
In 2003, Charles' job counselor at the Independent Living Center helped Charles get an interview for a position as a cart-pusher at a local Wal-Mart store. The job counselor asked Wal-Mart if she could accompany Charles in his interview, and Wal-Mart's personnel manager agreed. When they got to the store, however, the job counselor was not allowed into the interview. The interview did not go well for Charles and Wal-Mart refused to hire him. Charles decided to file a claim under the ADA, but no court ever reached the question of whether Charles was qualified for the job, whether Wal-Mart discriminated against Charles because of his disability, or whether Wal-Mart violated the law by not modifying its policies to allow a job counselor to accompany Charles. Instead, the courts simply ruled that Charles Littleton was not "disabled" under the ADA.
In fact, the court found that "there is no evidence to support Littleton's necessary contention that his retardation substantially limits him in one or more major life activities."
The appellate court concluded that while Charles was not hired for the cart-pusher job, there were other jobs he could do and, therefore, he was not substantially limited in his ability to work.
++Ask the family of Mary Ann Pimental:
Mary Ann Pimental was a registered nurse from New Hampshire. Five years into her job as a staff nurse, the hospital where Mary Ann worked promoted her to its nurse management team. A little more than a year later, Mary Ann was diagnosed with stage III breast cancer.
Mary Ann initially took time from work to undergo surgery (mastectomy) and follow-up treatment (chemotherapy and radiation therapy). While Mary Ann was hospitalized and receiving treatment for cancer, the hospital reorganized its management team and eliminated Mary Ann's position. When Mary Ann was able to return to work, she applied for several different positions but was not hired. The hospital finally rehired her into a staff nurse position that provided only 20 hours of work each week. As a result, Mary Ann was not eligible for higher benefits offered to employees working 30 or more hours each week.
Given her strong work history, and because she was asked about her ongoing cancer treatments and ability to handle work with the stress of battling cancer, Mary Ann believed that the hospital failed to rehire her into a better position because of her breast cancer. She decided to challenge these decisions, and filed a claim under the ADA.
The hospital argued that she wasn't protected by the ADA because she didn't have a "disability." When Mary Ann returned to work she still was undergoing radiation therapy and experiencing significant fatigue. She still could not lift her arm above her head, still experienced concentration and memory problems, and still received help at home from her husband and mother. The district court never reached the question of whether Mary Ann's breast cancer played a role in her failure to be rehired into a better management position. Instead, the court agreed with the hospital that "the most substantial side effects [of Mary Ann's breast cancer and treatment] were (relatively speaking) short-lived" and therefore "they did not have a substantial and lasting effect on the major activities of her daily life." The court decided she did not have a "disability" under the ADA.
Mary Ann Pimental died of breast cancer four months after the court issued this decision.
++Ask Robert Tockes:
A truck driver who had limited use of one hand as a result of an injury he sustained in the Army, and who was told by his employer that "he was being fired because of his disability, he was crippled, and the company was at fault for having hired a handicapped person," was not protected by the ADA. The court ruled that the employer did not regard Robert Tockes as disabled when it fired him for using only one hand to fasten a load on a flatbed truck. While, "[o]bviously [the employer] knew [Mr. Tockes] had a disability," the court stated, that "does not mean that it thought him so far disabled as to fall within the restrictive meaning the ADA assigns to the term."
For the latest on ADA Restoration, go to AAPD's ADA Restoration blog.