Who is disabled

Marta Russell ap888 at lafn.org
Wed Jun 17 07:45:30 PDT 1998

Michael Perelman wrote:
> To what extent is the definition of disabled a social construction?
> We are expanding who is disabled. A California school district recently fired a
> teacher with a skin disorder. His fingerprints were insufficiently clear. In a
> sense, he is disabled, yet perfectly able to carry out his job.
> --

Under exactly what grounds does the school have the right to fire this individual? Is there a regulation that requires one to have readable fingerprints to teach school? Is there no other way to identify this person?

And, did the school then put this teacher on disability benefits (is that why you see the definition of disability has been expanded to include someone who can work)?

The firing appears totally unjust, the teacher could and probably wants to continue to work. Is the teacher taking this to court as a possible violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act? The ADA defines disability in three ways: as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of an individual, the record of such an impairment, or being regarded as having an impairment.

It appears to me that the legal question would be: "Is not having readable fingerprints "an impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities"? Or a reasonable accommodation might be to find an alternative way to identify the individual to satisfy school regulations.


More information about the lbo-talk mailing list