The Americans with Disabilities Amendment Act (ADAAA)
Effective January 1, 2009 the law amending the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) goes into effect.
The Act retains the ADA’s basic definition of “disability” as an impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a record of such an impairment, or being regarded as having such an impairment. However, it changes the way that these statutory terms should be interpreted.
There are three major changes to the current law.
1. The ADAAA prohibits employers from considering the effects of mitigating measures such as hearing aids, medication, prosthetic devices, etc. when determining whether someone has a disability. However, eyeglasses and contact lenses may still be taken into account.
2. The amendment expands the list of “major Life activities” to include:
caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating,sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, working and the operation of major bodily functions, such as functions of the immune system, normal cell growth and digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine and reproductive functions.
3. The law covers workers whose employers discriminate against them basedon a perception that the worker is impaired, regardless of whether the worker has a disability. This protection does not apply to persons with short-term impairments. The ADA provides broad coverage to protect anyone who faces discrimination on the basis of a disability.
Employers should review their employment policies regarding disabilities and reasonable accommodations. Employers with lengthy, detailed policies which include definitions of what constitutes a disability should consult with legal counsel about whether any changes are necessary.
Managers should trained on the changes to the ADA’s definition of a person who is “regarded as” disabled. It is now possible for just about anyone with a non-temporary impairment to bring a charge of discrimination. Companies will probably receive more requests for reasonable accommodations due to the changes in the law.
For additional information we would like to share a link provided by Karen Moore of Life Insurance Quotes:
Thank you, Karen.