Virginia University Humanities Models of Disability Discussion Questions

Section II: (30 points) Please answer ONE of the following two essay questions (only your

first answer will be graded).
Question 1.
There has been an ongoing debate in the disability community on whether the
“social” model or the “universal” model of disability is more accurate and useful
in advancing the goals of people with disabilities.

a. Please define the different models of disability and how they
compare to the “medical model”, and discuss the strengths and/or
weaknesses of each one.
b. What are the implications of the social and universal models for
political strategies to improve conditions for people with
Question 2.
Richards v. Presto Taxi and Limousine Service
The Presto Taxi and Limousine Service is based in New Brunswick, NJ.
Malek Richards was hired as a driver by Presto in July, 2021.
On the day Richards was hired, Presto’s president, Mel Drummond, informed
him that it was essential to “look and act professional” at all times while at
work. This included keeping his cab clean, being polite to passengers, and not
eating while on duty.
Richards has Type 1 diabetes which is generally controlled by medication.
His condition requires him to eat small amounts of food throughout the day in
order to regulate his blood sugar levels. Richards did not disclose his
condition when he was hired by Presto.
In September, 2021 Drummond discovered that Richards was eating food
while transporting passengers. He immediately called Richards into his office
and demanded that he stop eating while on duty. Richards then told
Drummond that he had diabetes and explained that if he didn’t eat frequent
snacks, he would rapidly become disoriented and could subsequently lapse
into a diabetic coma. At this point, Drummond became concerned about the
safety of passengers as well as with maintaining professionalism among his
drivers and terminated Richards.
Knowing you are taking a class on disability, Richards has come to you for
advice. Is Presto legally entitled to fire him? Is the company required to
make accommodations for him? What issues need to be resolved? What laws
and cases are relevant? What additional facts, if any, are needed to resolve
Malek’s situation?

Extra credit (5 points):
Define the concept of “intersectionality”, and how it relates to people with disabilities and strategies for political action.

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