Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 Becomes Law

On September 25, 2008, President Bush signed the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (“ADAAA”) into law. As stated in prior blog entries, the amendment makes substantial changes to the Supreme Court’s restrictive readings of disability discrimination protections.

Significantly, the ADAAA seeks to restore the protections of the ADA in the following manner:
– removing the Supreme Court’s requirement that in evaluating whether an
individual is disabled, the mitigating effects of medications and other measures
must be considered;
– including the “operation of a major bodily function” within the meaning of “major
life activity”;
– abrogating the requirement that an individual claiming discrimination on the basis of
a perceived disability show that the impairment was regarded as limiting a major life
activity. Under the new law, an individual need only show that the employer
regarded the condition as an impairment;
– in considering whether an impairment is a disability, the impairment must be
considered in its “active” state;
– confirming the definition of “disability” under the Rehabilitation Act, which covers
federal, state and local government employees, with the definition under the ADA;
– requiring courts to interpret and construe the provisions of the ADA liberally.
The ADAA takes effect on January 1, 2009. For more information on the ADAA, please visit the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s website.

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