Jonathan Mook on Individual Liability Under Disability Discrimination Laws

Jonathan Mook on Individual Liability Under Disability Discrimination Laws

Jonathan R. Mook, attorney, founding partner with DiMuroGinsberg, P.C., and author of Americans with Disabilities Act: Employee Rights and Employer Obligations and Americans with Disabilities Act: Public Accommodations and Commercial Facilities, explains that individuals may not be liable for ADA disability discrimination or retaliation, but cautions that individual liability still may arise under state antidiscrimination laws.

 In addition to a corporate employer, can individuals, such as supervisors or human relations representatives, be held liable for violating disability discrimination laws? In two decisions, the federal courts of appeal held that there is no individual liability for disability discrimination or retaliation against employees under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). In Walsh v. Nevada Dept of Human Res., the Ninth Circuit found no individual liability for discrimination under the ADA . In Albra v. Advan, Inc., the Eleventh Circuit held that no individual liability attaches to claims for ADA retaliation in the employment context.

In this commentary, Mr. Mook examines the bases for both the Ninth and Eleventh Circuit rulings and their importance to employment law practitioners. Although the ADA may not allow for individual liability, this does not mean that persons who discriminate against the disabled or retaliate against those who complain about disability discrimination can get off scott-free. As Mr. Mook explains, a number of state anti-discrimination laws allow for individual liability for disability discrimination and retaliation.

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