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40 Law & Phil. 1 (2021)

handle is hein.journals/lwphil40 and id is 1 raw text is: Law and Philosophy (2021) 40: 1-31                   © Springer Nature B.V. 2020
(Accepted 31 March 2020)
This paper concerns the question of what makes disability discrim-
ination morally objectionable. When I refer to disability discrimi-
nation, I am focusing solely on a failure or denial of reasonable
accommodations to a disabled person. I am doing so for two reasons.
First, what is foundational about disability law and policy is that a
failure to make a reasonable accommodation for a disabled person is
illegal discrimination in many contexts unless the employer or other
covered entity demonstrates that the accommodation causes an
undue hardship.1 Second, many legal scholars argue that a failure or
denial of reasonable accommodations constitutes a type of wrongful
Reasonable accommodations are modifications and adjustments
to social institutions, public spaces, and jobs that allow a disabled
person to enjoy the same benefits and privileges as a nondisabled
person within a specific legal context. Accommodations usually take
two forms. The first is physical alterations to workplaces or areas of
public accommodations, such as installing ramps or elevators. Sec-
ond, accommodations alter the structure of social institutions and
jobs, such as work schedules, providing sign language interpreters,
etc.3 Reasonable accommodation mandates are now a ubiquitous
1 42 U.S.C. § 12112(b)(5)(A). There is also a defense that an individual shall not pose a 'direct threat'
to the health and safety of other individuals in the workplace. See 42 U.S.C. § 12113(b). Speaking
broadly, the ADA prohibits disability discrimination by employers, state and local governments, and in
areas of public accommodation.
2 Many legal scholars have argued that a failure to accommodate is a kind of wrongful discrimi-
nation. See Samuel Bagenstos, Law and the Contractions of the Disability Rights Movement (New Haven,
CT: Yale University Press, 2009); Christine Jolls, 'Antidiscrimination and Accommodation', Harvard Law
Review 115 (2001), pp. 642-699; and Sharon Rabin-Margalioth, 'Anti-Discrimination, Accommodation
and Universal Mandates - Aren't They The Same?', Berkeley Journal of Employment and Labor Law 24
(2003), pp. 111-152.
3 Michael Ashley Stein, 'The Law and Economics of Disability Accommodations', 53 Duke Law
Journal 79 (2003).

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