Disability Discrimination and Parker v. Metropolitan Life: Separate, but Equal?

B. W. Wall,
Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law 26(1): 117-121, 1998.
In August 1997, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that disability insurance obtained as an employment benefit is not a "physical place" protected by Title III of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). The majority held that because benefits were obtained from an employer instead of from an insurance office, the insurance plan's disparity between mental health benefits and benefits for physical disabilities did not constitute "discrimination" as defined by Title I of the ADA. Other circuit courts have held that illness-specific discrimination in disability insurance coverage is indeed prohibited under Title III. The conflict between the circuit courts may ultimately work its way to the U.S. Supreme Court.