Publication Date



Prior to the ADA Amendments Act of 2008, relatively
few cases proceeded past the initial inquiry of whether the
plaintiff was covered by the ADA. Consequently, the scope
of an employer's obligation to provide a reasonable
accommodation to an individual with a disability remains
under-developed and under-theorized. Now that the
Amendments have made it easier for plaintiffs to prove
that they have a disability under the ADA, we can expect
to see more courts struggling with many difficult
reasonable accommodation issues. The current case law is
chaotic, providing little guidance to employers and courts
in determining whether an accommodation is reasonable,
and making it impossible to discern any unified principle
to explain the chaotic results. This Article does just that.
It identifies the scope of an employer's obligation to
reasonably accommodate its employees by proposing a
unified approach to the reasonable accommodation
I am facilitated in this endeavor by relying on a case
under Title III, the public accommodations Title of the
ADA. In PGA Tour, Inc. v. Martin, involving professional
golfer Casey Martin's request to use a golf cart during the
final rounds of the tournament, the Supreme Court held

that the PGA Tour has to provide Casey Martin with a
reasonable modification to its no-golf-carts rule because
the modification did not 'fundamentally alter" the nature
of the public accommodation. This inquiry involved two
questions: (1) whether the modification sought altered such
an essential aspect of the game of golf that it would be
unacceptable even if it affected all competitors equally;
and (2) whether it give an unfair advantage to the
individual with the disability. Although an employer is
not a golf tournament, the standard from Martin can
provide clarity to the vague "reasonableness"standard in
Title I's reasonable accommodation provision. First, using
the fundamental alteration standard, courts should
determine whether the accommodation would
'fundamentally alter"the nature of the employer-employee
relationship. Second, when an accommodation places
burdens on other employees, courts should determine if the
accommodation causes an unreasonable burden by asking
the analogous question from Martin of whether the
accommodation would have given an unfair advantage to the
employee with a disability. Thus, although not a perfect
fit, Martinizing Title I offers helpful structure for
providing a coherent, unified approach to the reasonable
accommodation provision under the ADA.