”Qualifying Disability” Legal Definition

Under California Government Code section 12926, subdivision (k), as well as the federal statute and the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), a qualifying disability is defined as :

"(A) a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of such individual; (B) a record of such impairment; or (C) being regarded as having such an impairment." (42 U.S.C. § 12102(2); see also Cal. Code Regs., tit. 2, § 7293.6, subd. (a); 29 C.F.R. § 1630.2(j) (1998).)

In order to determine whether or not a disability substantially limits a major life activity, the court must examine the effect of the alleged impairment on the life in question. (Ferguson v. Western Carolina Regional Sewer Auth. (D.S.C. 1996) 914 F. Supp. 1297, 1299.)

Generally, a condition will not qualify as a disability under the definition of both the federal and California statutes unless the alleged impairments substantially limits the ability of the plaintiff to perform major life activities which includes such functions as: "caring for one's self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing learning, and working" (Cal. Code Regs., tit. 2, § 7293.6, subd. (e)(1)(A)(2)(a); see also 29 C.F.R. § 1630.2(i) (1998); Hatfield v. Quantum Chemical Corp. (S.D.Tex. 1996) 920 F. Supp. 108, 110).

In Ferguson v. Western Carolina Regional Sewer Auth. (D.S.C. 1996) 914 F. Supp. 1297, the court found that the plaintiff was not disabled under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) where the plaintiff suffered from several physical conditions, including "irritable bowel syndrome."

In Pangalos v. Prudential Ins. Co. (1996) 5 A.D. Cases 1825, it was found that severe ulcerative colitis would not qualify as a disability under the ADA.