Washington Law Review


Donna L. Mack


The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) does not state whether a former employee may sue a former employer regarding post-employment fringe benefits. Some courts have held that former employees who are retired or have total disabilities have no right to relief under the statute because they do not meet the ADA's requirement that a claimant be a "qualified individual with a disability." Other courts have concluded that former employees receiving post-employment benefits do have a right to relief under the statute. These courts reasoned that an internal ambiguity in the statute requires courts to look to the legislative history and purpose of the ADA, and construe the statute in accord with its broad remedial purpose. This Comment argues that post-employment benefits recipients have a right to relief under the ADA. The ADA expressly prohibits discrimination in terms, conditions, and privileges of employment; individuals must have legal recourse when faced with this type of discrimination. By broadly construing the employment relationship to include individuals who no longer work but continue to receive benefits from a former employer, the "qualified individual with a disability" requirement is satisfied and does not stand as an artificial barrier to relief under the ADA.

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