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WPI 330.31.01 Employment Discrimination—Disability Discrimination—Definition of Impairment

6A WAPRAC WPI 330.31.01Washington Practice Series TMWashington Pattern Jury Instructions--Civil

6A Wash. Prac., Wash. Pattern Jury Instr. Civ. WPI 330.31.01 (7th ed.)
Washington Practice Series TM
Washington Pattern Jury Instructions--Civil
April 2022 Update
Washington State Supreme Court Committee on Jury Instructions
Part XVI. Employment
Chapter 330. Employment Discrimination
WPI 330.31.01 Employment Discrimination—Disability Discrimination—Definition of Impairment
An impairment includes [but is not limited to]:
[a] [physiological disorder], [or] [condition], [cosmetic disfigurement], [or] [anatomical loss] affecting one [or more of] the following body system[s]: [neurological], [musculo-skeletal], [special sense organs], [respiratory], [including speech organs], [cardio-vascular], [reproductive], [digestive], [genitor-urinary], [hemic and lymphatic], [skin], [and] [endocrine][; or]
[any [mental], [developmental], [traumatic], [or] [psychological] disorder including [but not limited to] [cognitive limitation], [organic brain syndrome], [emotional or mental illness], [and] [specific learning disabilities]].
The definition of “impairment” found at RCW 49.60.040(7)(c) should be used with both disparate treatment and accommodation cases. See also WPI 330.33 (Employment Discrimination—Disability Discrimination—Reasonable Accommodation—Burden of Proof) for the impairment instruction in accommodation cases.
Use the bracketed language as appropriate for the type of impairment claimed.
The definition of “impairment” is now codified in RCW 49.60.040(7)(c) and should be used with WPI 330.31 (Employment Discrimination—Disability Discrimination—Definition of Disability) and WPI 330.33 (Employment Discrimination—Disability Discrimination—Reasonable Accommodation—Burden of Proof).
An impairment may be temporary, common or uncommon, mitigated or unmitigated, and, for purposes of disparate treatment, an impairment need not limit the ability to work generally or to work at a particular job whether or not it limits other activities covered by RCW Chapter 49.60. RCW 49.60.040(7)(b).
In Clipse v. Commercial Driver Services, Inc., 189 Wn.App. 776, 792–93, 358 P.3d 464 (2015), the court affirmed a jury verdict in favor of a plaintiff who had been denied employment as a truck driver instructor because of his use of the prescription drug methadone. In addressing the question of whether methadone use constituted a “disability” under the Washington Law Against Discrimination (WLAD), the court held that the use of prescription medications may constitute a “disability” under the WLAD if the medications cause physically impairing side effects.
Obesity always qualifies as an impairment under the plain language of RCW 49.60.040(7)(c)(i)
because it is recognized by the medical community as a “physiological disorder, or condition” that affects multiple body systems listed in the statute. Therefore, if an employer refuses to hire someone because the employer perceives the applicant to have obesity, and the applicant is able to properly perform the job in question, the employer violates this section of the WLAD.
Taylor v. Burlington N. R.R. Holdings, Inc., 193 Wn.2d 611, 615, 444 P.3d 606 (2019).
[Current as of October 2020.]
End of Document