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Saturday, December 16, 2006

Legal Framework Essay: Making a Mole hill out of a Sand trap

Americans with Disabilities Act Case Study: Golf Handicaps
By Patrick Darnell

The Legal and Ethical Environment of Business

Read the case and discuss the outcome of the case, whether the holdings of this case could lead to unlawful excuses for discrimination in other settings and/or against other classes, and the ethics of incorporating the principles of this case into DWIInc's EEO/ ADA policy book and training manual. (Task Detail; 2006)

Introduction Golf man: Leveraged Leisure-tronics Case Study
A very broad discussion of ADA: in context of Reasonable Accommodation by Employers as required by Americans with Disabilities Act is reviewed here. Concerning application of Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, to a consequence of nature: “first, whether the Act protects access to professional golf tournaments by a qualified entrant with a disability; second whether a disabled contestant may be denied the use of a golf cart because it would ‘fundamentally alter the nature’ of the tournaments.”

The vernacular of golf is fully bound in traditions and fairness of centuries of play of the sport. Today, in highest level of play there is the test of a regulation official tournament play called the “Q School” of sponsored competition.

The Public is allowed to visit sites of play, and watch four rounds of weekend golf from Thursday to Sunday. Golf carts as a mode to ambulate a course on the last two days is forbidden since 1997, in spirit of “starting from a completely equal point of departure for all the highest level qualifying players.”

That all said: 100 plus years history of golf has witnessed many modifications in equipment. The modifications will have transpired in more efficient equipment and mechanical modes of ambulation. Additionally, at present commerce power of golf in the USA affects 25 million golfers, with the four day tour generating approximately $300 million per tournament. Reason of existence is not about equipment, rather the rules of fairness, so says the petitioners and the dissenting judges.

“The basic rules of Golf, the hard cards, and the weekly notices, apply equally
to all players in tour competitions. ‘The Masters’ Tournament which is golf at
its very highest level ...the key is to have everyone tee off on the first hole
under exactly the same conditions and all of them be tested over 72-hole event
under the conditions that exist during the four day event" (Stevens, May 29,

Thus, first theory: Can equal play be affected by irregular modifications?

Equal play >> (not the same modifications)
(Not the same modifications) >> equal Odds
Equal odds >> equal play
In a self-sacrificing society like in the USA, what are odds of having a one good-legged golfer qualifying as a highest level golfer out of 25 million golfers? The odds are pretty against having high rankings, considering rarity and difficulty in having only one leg.

Also, what are odds of equal modifications in ranks of professionals, with some portion of $300 million per tournament at stake? That dollar figure is from not only commercialization, but in endorsement of TV exposure of garments and golf gewgaws that Professionals use in tournament.

Someone, someday in a high level future golf tournament is going to have only one good leg and uncanny modifications to help him or her walk or ride the course, regardless the odds of equanimity. And all those gizmos will be for sale at your local retailers’ after seeing them on TV all weekend.

A Legal Framework
The professor teaches that the framework is enticingly familiar in each case of petition against modification of rules, in the presence of extra high commerce. Professor asks: “Is it legal; is it ethical; is it good for the whole?” Society at large is not selfless, rather motivated.

“Whether happenstance events are more or less probable than the likelihood that a golfer afflicted with Klippel-Trenaunay-Weber Syndrome would one day qualify for the NIKE Tour and PGA Tour, they at least demonstrate that pure chance may have a greater impact on the outcome of elite golf tournaments than the fatigue [pain differential]resulting from the enforcement of the walking rule (Pg. 9, of 27)

Theory two: Is golf a Game of odds with many variables? Consider this flow chart:

Equal play >> Golfer >> one-legged handicap >> chance to make good Tee off >> chance to make good, efficient, shots to hole >> chance to sink ball in hole >> chance to make fewer shots than competing high level golfers >> qualifying for PGA... For goodness sakes

...Just qualifying for PGA = equal play

Discussion of the Case
The court case of PGA Tour vs. Casey Martin, the petitioner came to illogical conclusion based on the negative of irregular modifications we see in the first theory. Our handicapped golfer, C. Martin, with one good leg, qualified as a cart rider golfer. He could not compete per the rules of no carts in final rounds. The petitioner thought: “The essence of the rules of highest level of golf was smeared, the rules were stretched, and the selflessness of equal competition became biased.” Legally, the petitioner is correct; C. Martin does not qualify for the job of walking “hard card” finalist. “To be sure, waiver of an essential rule of competition for anyone would fundamentally alter the nature of petitioner’s tournaments.

In context of the second theory above: Was it ethical to let C. Martin golf in the finals? In context of pain differential to play in the finals, Martin who cannot walk the course will be in a similar amount of fatigue in the course progression as the fatigue of those who walk.
Get it? The golf cart is a high tech crutch for a severely handicapped, disabled athlete, as much as a “Carbonized Max Aluminum-Headed Driver golf club” is a crutch to the less strong player, who can putt, but cannot drive. Modifications are arbitrary.
Discussion: ADA -- Title III of the ADA prescribes as a general rule

“No individual shall be discriminated against on the basis of disability in the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages or accommodations of any place of public accommodation by any person who owns leases sub-lets, or operates a place of public accommodations (42 USC 12182).”

Please note that “public accommodations have been defined in terms of 12 categories,” and includes specifically “golf courses (footnote 24, id).”
Is the modification good for the stakeholders?
The stakeholders are mentioned as both the owners of the golf course and the highest level players competing in the tournaments. The chance to view the event both live and on TV makes the commerce power limitless. Therefore, what’s good for the golfer [could be] what’s good for the public [could be] what’s good for the golf course owner.
I think that is why courts ruled against walking rule of the petition. “The walking rule that is contained in petitioner’s ‘hard cards’ based on an optional condition buried in an appendix to the Rules of Golf is not an essential attribute of the game of golf.”
Summary of Case Context Discussion: Fairness
In aftermath of court tested petitions, we the patrons, the curious and genuinely strident are left with the opinion of the court to read and ponder in secondary research. To guide oneself through tides of opinion, to gain a smidgeon of knowledge depends on questions asked, and applications of ethics, morals and values, in answering those queries.
It never ceases to amaze what lengths Americans will go to determine effects laws have on the individual. The entire lengthy debate in the record focuses on consequence of participants, spectators, and owners of events, to determine fairness to all.
How can the ADA be applied to this and other cases?
“Its application to petitioner’s tournaments cannot be said to be unintended or unexpected [because] even if it were, ‘the fact that a statute can be applied in situations not expressly anticipated by Congress does not demonstrate ambiguity. It demonstrates breadth.” (Pennsylvania Dept of Corrections v Yeskey, 524 US at 212)
“But surely, in a case of this kind, congress intended that an entity like the PGA not only give individualized attention to the handful of requests that it might receive from talented but disabled athletes for a modification or waiver of a rule to allow them access to the competitions, but also carefully weigh the purpose, as well as the letter, of the rule before determining that no accommodation would be tolerable Justice Stevens; May 29, 2001).”
Conclusion: Personal Opinion on Proportion
The Appellate Court posted no opinion. My opinion is this: both the employee and employer now have the burden of tweaking every job description and job design. No more can the subjective rule of thumb be used to identify and promote employees. I believe the commerce power over rode the rules in this case, but the summaries were split.

Thus, a once successful golfer who has unfortunately lost use of one leg could pose a certain hazard or danger to himself and the assembled at the work-place. If the golfer is leaving tire tracks all over the course, and injury occurs because the other golfers find swooshed turf in the fairway, and thus lose strokes, then the context of diversity compliance in the workplace is defeated. The warranted core competency of the company is compromised.
References / Notes / Persistent Links
ADA Overview, (n.d.) Retrieved on September 23, 2006 from deed state mn us rehab
Find Law, (2002) Retrieved on 25 September 2006 from caselaw LP findlaw scripts getcase
Jennings, M.M.; (2006) Business Its Legal, Ethical, and Global Environment, 7th edition, Arizona State University, 2006
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; (n.d.) the ADA: Your Employment Rights as an Individual with a Disability; retrieved from website eeoc gov, September 25, 2006
US Department of Justice; (2006) Executive Order 13271, retrieved September 26, 2006, from usdoj gov dag cftf execorder

1 comment:

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