Americans with Disabilities Act: Physician-shareholder practice groups and ADA compliance

Nathan Odem, Peter Blanck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


This article examines the application of Americans with Disabilities Act requirements to professional associations like physician practice groups. In general, employers with 15 or more full-time employees must comply with the Act. However, the definition of an employee is sometimes unclear, especially as applied to business entities commonly used by physician practice groups. A recent case decided by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that physician-shareholders of a professional corporation are employees for Americans with Disabilities Act coverage purposes. Analogous cases in other federal circuits have held differently, likening the "owners" of professional corporations to partners in a partnership, who are not considered employees. Similar questions arise for popular business entities, such as Limited Liability Companies and Limited Liability Partnerships. This article discusses the nature of the business forms commonly used by physician practice groups and how their characteristics impact employee status for Americans with Disabilities Act coverage. It then suggests that examination is useful beyond business formation characteristics to the purpose of the Americans with Disabilities Act and other employment antidiscrimination statutes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)309-313
Number of pages5
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 1 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Americans with Disabilities Act
  • Employees
  • Physician practice groups

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology


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