Daniel Schwartz at the Connecticut Employment Law Blog has an interesting post today about the effect the American Psychiatric Association's proposed changes the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual could have to the Connecticut body of disability discrimination law. While Connecticut is unique, according to Schwartz, in its definition of disability and expressly includes mental conditions listed in the current DSM as disabilities, I wrote (facetiously) last year that under the ADA's new, expanded (and inclusive) definition of disability, having a disorder that compelled excessive masturbation (i.e., hypersexual disorder) could qualify as a disability under the American with Disabilities Act entitling an employee to all manner of reasonable accommodation in the workplace.
In determining whether a mental impairment qualifies as a disability under the ADA, plaintiffs sometimes argue that because the mental impairment is a recognized disorder under the DSM, it qualifies as a mental impairment under the ADA. While the identification of a mental disorder in the DSM is not alone sufficient to satisfactorily show that an individual with that disorder is disabled, given the lower standard necessary to show that an impairment substantially limits a major life activity, it is not a stretch to believe that a trial court would find a genuine issue of material fact as to whether a mental disorder like hypersexuality, qualified as a disability. I predict that eventually, Congress' massive expansion of the ADA will compel a trial court to recognize an individual as disabled under circumstances that were never contemplated by Congress and will be viewed as outrageous to much of the general public. Until that occurs, and the media uncovers and widely reports it, there is little likelihood that Congress will revisit (or rein in) its extension of ADA rights.
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