University of Chicago Law Review
This Article contends that workplace accommodations should be predicated on need or effectiveness instead of group identity status. It proposes that, in principle, “accommodating every body” be achieved by extending Americans with Disabilities Act type reasonable accommodation to all work-capable members of the general population for whom accommodation is necessary to enable their ability to work. Doing so shifts the focus of accommodation disputes from the contentious identity-based contours of “disabled” plaintiffs to the core issue of alleged discrimination. This proposal likewise avoids current problems associated with excluding “unworthy” individuals from employment opportunity — people whose functional capacity does not comply with prevailing workforce design and organizational presumptions — and who therefore require accommodation. Adopting this proposal also responds to growing demands to extend the length of time people remain at work by enhancing employment opportunities for aging individuals still capable of contributing on the job. Provision of accommodations for age-related alteration of functionality, when the accommodations are effective, is reasonably prescribed because it is in everyone’s interest to retain maximum capabilities as they grow older, whether or not they also possess identity-based characteristics sufficient to constitute a “disability” under the ADA.
Areheart, Bradley A., "Accommodating Every Body" (2014). UTK Law Faculty Publications. 218.