October 1998

Workplace Labor Update - Supreme Court News – October 1998

1 min

In Bragdon v. Abbott, the Supreme Court addressed the issue of whether a person who is HIV positive, but asymptomatic, is disabled within the meaning of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Court held that asymptomatic HIV infection qualifies as a disability under the ADA, i.e., it is "a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of such individual." The Court stated that HIV "is an impairment from the moment of infection" due to "the immediacy with which the virus begins to damage the infected person's white blood cells and the severity of the disease."

The Supreme Court also recently addressed the issue of school district responsibility for sex harassment of students by teachers under Title IX in Gebser v. Lago Vista Independent School District. In the school context, the Court held that "damages may not be recovered [for sexual harassment of a student by a teacher] unless an official of the school district who at a minimum has authority to institute corrective measures on the district's behalf has actual notice of, and is deliberately indifferent to, the teacher's misconduct."