United States Court of Appeals For the Seventh Circuit
Employment — ADA
Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act does not cover employment-related disability discrimination.
“We conclude that Title II unambiguously does not apply to the employment decisions of state and local governments. To repeat: Title II provides that no eligible disabled person “shall, by reason of such disability, be excluded from participation in or be denied the benefits of the services, programs, or activities of a public entity, or be subjected to discrimination” by a state or local unit of government. 42 U.S.C. § 12132. Our sister circuits have helpfully divided § 12132 into two clauses for purposes of analysis: no otherwise eligible individual with a disability may be (1) ‘excluded from participation in or be denied the benefits of the services, programs, or activities of a public entity’ by reason of such disability; or (2) ‘subjected to discrimination by’ a public entity by reason of disability. Id.; accord Elwell, 693 F.3d at 1306; Zimmerman, 170 F.3d at 1174; Bledsoe, 133 F.3d at 821. No circuit has held that the first clause of § 12132 applies to public employment. See Elwell, 693 F.3d at 1306; Zimmerman, 170 F.3d at 1174; Bledsoe, 133 F.3d at 821–22. This is for good reason: Under the first clause of the statute, eligible disabled persons may not be excluded from ‘participation in’ or denied ‘the benefits of’ the ‘services, programs, or activities’ of state and local government; employment is not ordinarily conceptualized as a ‘service, program, or activity’ of a public entity. See Elwell, 693 F.3d at 1306 (‘[C]an “employment” be described fairly as a service, program, or activity of a public entity … ? We think not.’); Zimmerman, 170 F.3d at 1174 (‘A common understanding of the first clause shows that it applies only to the “outputs” of a public agency, not to “inputs” such as employment.’). We join the emerging consensus and hold that § 12132’s first clause unambiguously does not address itself to disability discrimination in the employment context.”
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Kennelly, J., Sykes, J.