On October 8, 2008, Labor & Employment lawyers
Dana Rust, Rod Satterwhite, and Eric Martin discussed the ADA Amendments Act of 2008
(ADAAA), which significantly expands the Americans with
Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). Effective Jan. 1, 2009, the ADAAA
will require employers to review job requirements and job
descriptions; consider amending accommodation practices;
train supervisors on compliance with new rules; and
prepare to deal with a larger pool of protected employees
Streaming video of the seminar is now available (in WMV format).
Under the ADAAA, evaluating
accommodation requests will be more complex and litigation
will be more likely. Summary judgment will be more difficult
to obtain -- meaning more cases will go to trial. Some of the items covered include:
- Reverse Supreme Court
precedent that narrowed applicability of the ADA.
- Redefine "disability" by
expanding "major life activities" as interpreted by
courts and the EEOC to include activities of eating,
sleeping, standing, lifting, bending, learning, reading,
concentrating, thinking and communicating.
- Add a new category,
"major bodily functions," that includes, but is not
limited to, "functions of the immune system, normal cell
growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain,
respiratory, circulatory, endocrine and reproductive
- Expand the standard used
by courts in determining if an individual is "regarded
as" disabled, by prohibiting adverse actions related to
impairment "whether or not the impairment limits or is
perceived to limit a major life activity."
- Exclude only impairments
that are "transitory and minor" (impairments "with an
actual or perceived duration of six months or less").
- Prohibit taking into
account ameliorative effects of mitigating measures such
as medication, prosthetics, or other devices or
treatments in determining if impairments are covered
disabilities, with a limited exception for eyeglasses
- Require evaluating
impairments that are episodic or in remission as though
they are active, even if they're inactive.
- Clarify that employers
are not required to accommodate "regarded as"
disabilities for workers who are not actually impaired.