Two federal circuits, borrowing from Title VII jurisprudence, recently recognized a cause of action for a disability-based hostile environment under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Neither opinion, however, considered how the analysis of a disability-based hostile environment claim under the ADA might differ from that of a race- or sex-based hostile environment claim under Title VII. This Article examines the differing theories of equality underlying the two statutes and argues that, because the statutes prohibit discrimination in fundamentally different ways, courts must resist the temptation to copy and paste Title VII doctrine into ADA hostile environment opinions. This Article instead suggests an analysis of ADA hostile environment actions that is consistent with the specific combination of theories underlying that statute.
Lisa Eichhorn, Hostile Environment Actions, Title VII, and the ADA: The Limits of the Copy-and-Paste Function, 77 Wash. L. Rev. 575 (2002).