The Dissent on Major Life Activity
The Chief Justice’s opinion attacked this conclusion by focusing on the language in the ADA that demands that the determinations of disability and accommodation be individualized. This language was put into the ADA to prevent employers from excluding disabled workers based on stereotypes of what persons with a specific disability can do. The employer must give the employee a chance to do the job, rather than have blanket exclusions based on laundry lists of disabilities. The Chief Justice argued that this standard of individualized determination of disability should also be applied to the plaintiff. The plaintiff rejected this individualized determination and denied that she, personally, suffered any impairment to a major life function:
There is absolutely no evidence that, absent the HIV, respondent would have had or was even considering having children. Indeed, when asked during her deposition whether her HIV infection had in any way impaired her ability to carry out any of her life functions, respondent answered “No.” It is further telling that in the course of her entire brief to this Court, respondent studiously avoids asserting even once that reproduction is a major life activity to her. To the contrary, she argues that the “major life activity” inquiry should not turn on a particularized assessment of the circumstances of this or any other case.