ADA – Failure To Accommodate Fibromyalgia Interpreted Broadly Under ADAAA

The Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act (“ADAAA”) greatly strengthened the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) and makes it much easier for an employee to prevail in an ADA failure to accommodate case. We are now seeing the impact of the ADAAA on ADA claims. In Howard v. Common. Pa. Dept. Pub. Wel., 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 3251(E. D. Pa. no. 11-1938)(January 9, 2013)(Stengel, J.), the Court held that fibromyalgia and other conditions qualify as physical or mental impairments. See 29 C.F.R. § 1630.2(h). Thus, where the Plaintiff established she was limited in the major life activities of performing thinking, working, walking, sleeping, and performing manual tasks (i.e.  “major life activities”) 29 C.F.R. § 1630.2(i), the Court relied upon the ADAAA’s broadened scope of covered disabilities, 42 U.S.C. § 12102(4)(A), and language making it clear that ‘Substantially limits’ is not meant to be a demanding standard.” 29 C.F.R. § 1630.2(j)(1)(i). Consequently, the Court found that Plaintiff produced evidence from which a reasonable jury could conclude her fibromyalgia substantially limits her ability to walk, sleep, and perform manual tasks as compared to most people in the general population, finding the Plaintiff presented evidence from which a reasonable jury could conclude she is substantially limited as to a major life activity. Thus, in Howard, the Court denied summary judgment on the ADA failure-to-accommodate claim because the Plaintiff was disabled, qualified to perform the essential functions of the job and the evidence supported a possible finding that the employer did not in good faith engage in the ADA interactive process.

For more information on the Americans with Disabilities Act, Disability Discrimination and Abramson Employment Law see


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Filed under Americans with Disabilities Act - Disability Discrimination, Employment Law

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