Can blushing be covered by the American Disabilities Act?

I am a fair skinned person with very sensitive skin. Part of my job is to present to clients. During these presentations, I often blush, though there are no other physical symptoms I show of being under pressure. I do not have any other issues presenting aside from the blushing. My boss has told me that one of the reasons why I have not been promoted is because I sometimes appear “nervous” while presenting. She has said I have no problems presenting, just that I seem nervous. This to me is a reflection of my blushing, which I can not control. Would this be covered under the ADA?

Asked on October 6, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Michigan


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

No, blushing is most definitely not a disability. A disability is a recognized medical condition (e.g. there's a diagnosis for it) which has a greatly limiting affect on normal elements or activities of everyday life and which is beyond a person's effective control. Difficulties walking, visual or auditory impairment, nervous system or muscular disorders or diseases (e.g. Parkinson's, MS, MD), circulatory or pulmonary problems greatly limiting endurance, etc. are all disabilities. Blushing is not be, just as being physically unattractive is not a disability, tending to sweat more, a poor speaking voice, bad posture, or any other factor that could lead a particular employer to conclude you're not good at presentations. The fact that you suffer a detriment from something in one particular does not make something a disability, unfortunately.

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