WASHINGTON-Major customers of the tire industry are fighting to overturn a federal appeals court decision that broadens the definition of ``disability'' for U.S. workers under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The American Trucking Associations, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, the Association of International Automobile Manufacturers and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce filed a joint amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The brief supported Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky Inc. in its effort to overturn a decision by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.
The lower court ruled that Ella Williams, a Toyota Kentucky employee, had a ``disability'' under the ADA because her carpal tunnel syndrome kept her from performing certain jobs on the assembly line. It ordered Toyota to make modifications to the assembly line to accommodate Ms. Williams.
Toyota appealed to the Supreme Court, which heard oral arguments Nov. 7.
In their joint amicus brief, the four associations called the Sixth Circuit's decision ``sweeping and unwarranted.'' The ADA, according to the brief, was intended by Congress only to ``protect a limited class of individuals with severely restricted impairments.''
Ms. Williams, the brief stated, leads a normal life except for her inability to perform certain repetitive-motion tasks.
The Rubber Manufacturers Association, Tire Association of North America and International Tire & Rubber Association took no active role in the case. Attorneys for organizations that support Ms. Williams did not return phone calls seeking comment.