Ragged Edge online


News from the

Court Sides with Alabama Against Garrett

by Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
February 21, 2001

This article is reproduced here under special arrangement with Inclusion Daily Express Email News Service.

WASHINGTON, DC--The U.S. Supreme Court this morning ruled that Congress overstepped its bounds when it decided in 1990 to allow state workers to use the Americans with Disabilities Act to file discrimination lawsuits against their employers.

In the case known as "Board of Trustees of University of Alabama v. Garrett" the high court voted 5-4 in favor of states' 11th Amendment rights, thereby limiting the scope of the ADA. The decision punctuates a recent trend toward restricting the power of the federal government and expanding the power of individual states. It also strikes a blow to certain disability rights protections under the anti-discrimination law.

The case involved Patricia Garrett, who was promoted in 1992 to Director of OB/GYN/Neonatal Services at the University of Alabama after being on the staff for 15 years. Two years later, Garrett was diagnosed with breast cancer for which she underwent surgery, radiation and chemotherapy treatment. While she completed her therapy, her employer threatened to transfer her out of her position, claimed Garrett.

When she returned from medical leave, she was demoted to a job with less responsibility and less pay.

Garrett sued, alleging that the university discriminated against her because of her disability, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. She also claimed that her demotion was retaliatory, therefore violating the Family Medical Leave Act.

The state of Alabama argued that states are immune to this kind of lawsuit. Citing the 11th Amendment, Alabama reasoned that Congress does not have the authority to impose upon the states laws such as the ADA.

In 1999, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the State of Alabama. Garrett's case was combined with that of Milton Ashe, who had filed a similar suit against the Alabama Department of Youth Services. Their combined case was presented to the Supreme Court last October.

The Supreme Court yesterday agreed with the Appeals Court, stating that Garrett and Ashe cannot sue the state for damages..

Story from Associated Press

Back to home page




© Copyright 2000 The Ragged Edge


This Website produced by Cliffwood Organic Works