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Chapter 1 ADA Discrimination and the Nevada Physician



Americans With Disabilities Act
Rehabilitation Active







The Americans With Disabilities Act (“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. 12101, and the (Federal) Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. 701, prohibit discrimination against individuals who have (qualifying) disabilities, individuals who have had such past disabilities, or individuals who are deemed, but in actuality don’t, have such disabilities. Discrimination against these individuals in the workplace, in public accommodations, and with regard to state or federal governmental services is prohibited. Both of these federal statutes apply to physicians and hospitals in Nevada. The intent of the federal legislation is to ensure that employees and patients alike are neither discriminated against, nor denied benefits or opportunities based on their physical or mental disabilities.

Nevada physicians need to be aware of these laws prohibiting discrimination in the workplace from the standpoint of an employer, as well as that of an employee. Medical care facilities, including physicians’ offices, have been deemed places of public accommodation thus protecting patients with disabilities from discrimination in those facilities.


The Americans With Disabilities Act and the (Federal) Rehabilitation Act both address discrimination against disabled Americans. Though there is some crossover, each addresses specific areas of the law. The ADA primarily addresses disability based employment discrimination, discrimination in public accommodations, public transportation or telecommunications, and discrimination in state and federal government services. The (Federal) Rehabilitation Act, on the other hand, addresses discrimination by individuals or organizations participating in government funded programs.

Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)

The ADA protects persons that meet the three criteria outlined in 42 U.S.C. section 12102. Under the ADA, a person is disabled, and thus protected by the Act, if the person has:
a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of such individual;

b. a record of such an impairment; or
1. been regarded as having such an impairment.
42 U.S.C. 12102(2).

It is interesting to note that a “record” of impairment is sufficient to qualify a person as “disabled,” regardless of the person’s actual condition. Under the Code of Federal Regulations, 29 C.F.R. section 1630.2, a “physical or mental impairment” is defined as:

Any physiological disorder, or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or
anatomical loss affecting one or more of the following body systems:
neurological, musculoskeletal, special sense organs, respiratory (including
speech organs), cardiovascular, reproductive, digestive, genito?urinary,
hemic and lymphatic, skin, and endocrine; or . . . [a]ny mental or psychological disorder, such as mental retardation, organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, and specific learning disabilities.
29 C.F.R. 1630.2(h).