ADA AMENDMENTSAS - Employee Relations DivisionFebruary 22, 2011
ADA AMENDMENTS ACTOn September 25, 2008, President Barak Obama signed the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 ("ADA Amendments Act" or "Act"). The ADA Amendments Act was effective as of January 1, 2009.
The Act emphasizes that the definition of disability should be construed in favor of broad coverage of individuals to the maximum extent permitted by the terms of the ADA and generally shall not require extensive analysis.
ADA AMENDMENTS ACTThe Act makes important changes to the definition of the term "disability" by rejecting the holdings in several Supreme Court decisions and portions of EEOC's ADA regulations.
The effect of these changes is to make it easier for an individual seeking protection under the ADA to establish that he or she has a disability within the meaning of the ADA.
ADA AMENDMENTS ACTCase Law:
Sutton v. United Air Lines, Inc. 527 U.S. 471 (1999) and its companion cases narrowed the scope of protection afforded by the ADA.
Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky, Inc. v. Williams 534 U.S. 184 (2002)
School Bd. Of Nassau County v. Airline 480 U.S. 273 (1987)
ADA AMENDMENTS ACTThe 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.
ADA AMENDMENTS ACTChanges in the Act:
expands the definition of "major life activities" by including two non-exhaustive lists:the first list includes many activities: walking, reading, bending, and communicating;
the second list includes major bodily functions: functions of the immune system, normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, and reproductive functions;
ADA AMENDMENTS ACTstates that mitigating measures other than "ordinary eyeglasses or contact lenses" shall not be considered in assessing whether an individual has a disability;
clarifies that an impairment that is episodic or in remission is a disability if it would substantially limit a major life activity when active;
REASONABLE ACCOMMODATIONThere are three categories of "reasonable accommodations": Modifications job application process; or
Modifications to the work environment;
Modifications that enable a covered entity's employee to enjoy equal benefits and privileges.
REASONABLE ACCOMMODATIONA modification or adjustment is "reasonable" if it "seems reasonable on its face, i.e., ordinarily or in the run of cases;
This means it is "reasonable" if it appears to be "feasible" or "plausible.
An accommodation also must be effective in meeting the needs of the individual.
REASONABLE ACCOMMODATIONHow must an individual request a reasonable accommodation? When an individual decides to request accommodation, the individual must let the employer know that they need a modification for a reason related to a medical condition. To request accommodation, an individual may use "plain English" and need not mention the ADA or use the phrase "reasonable accommodation."
REASONABLE ACCOMMODATIONMay someone other than the individual with a disability request a reasonable accommodation on behalf of the individual? Yes, a family member, friend, health professional, or other representative may request a reasonable accommodation.
REASONABLE ACCOMMODATIONDo requests for reasonable accommodation need to be in writing?
No. Requests for reasonable accommodation do not need to be in writing.
REASONABLE ACCOMMODATIONIs an employer required to provide the reasonable accommodation that the individual wants?
The employer may choose among reasonable accommodations and make alternative suggestions as long as the chosen accommodation is effective.
FIVE BASIC STEPS FOR ACCOMMODATIONThe Request for Accommodation Certifying the Disability The Interactive Process Determine the Appropriate Accommodation Implement the Accommodation
AS-Employee Relations DivisionWilliam Wood, Administrator 471-4106
Equal Opportunity Commission ~ www.eeoc.gov
NEOC ~ www.neoc.ne.gov