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Antidiscrimination and Accommodation, 115 Harvard Law Review 642 (2001)


The canonical idea of "antidiscrimination" in the United States condemns the differential treatment of otherwise similarly situated individuals on the basis of race, sex, national origin, or other protected characteristics. Starting from this perspective, legal requirements that actors take affirmative steps to "accommodate" the special, distinctive needs of particular groups, such as individuals with disabilities, by providing additional benefits or allowances to them strike many observers as fundamentally distinct from, broader than, and often less legitimate than legal requirements within the canonical "antidiscrimination" category. On this ground, observers sharply contrast Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other older civil rights enactments, which are said to be "real anti-discrimination law[s]," with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA), said to be "accommodation" laws. On

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