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To be entitled to such protection a person must: (i) be employed by an entity covered by the ADA, (ii) be disabled within the meaning of the ADA, (iii) be otherwise qualified to perform the essential functions of her job, with or without reasonable accommodation, and (iv) have an adverse employment action taken against her on the basis of her disability.
In turn, a disability is (A) a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of such individual; or (B) a record of such impairment; or (C) being regarded as having such an impairment. The EEOC defines "a mental impairment" as "any mental or psychological disorder, such as mental retardation, organic brain syndrome, Bi-Polar Disorder II, emotional or mental illness, and specific learning disabilities," for purposes of the ADA.
Thus, the question becomes whether this impairment substantially limits a major life activity. Interacting with others is a major life activity under the ADA Interacting with others is indisputably an activity of central importance to daily life, and the EEOC has recognized it as a major life activity in its compliance manual. Additionally, interacting with others is considered a major life activity under the Rehabilitation Act, and such recognition under the ADA would serve the legislative purpose of rectifying stereotypes about the mentally disabled. Neither the Supreme Court nor the Second Circuit have addressed the issue ...
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