PROPOSED AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT (ADA) RULES ISSUED BY EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION
The ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA) was signed into law on September 25, 2008, and became effective on January 1, 2009. The ADAAA overturned many court cases that narrowly defined a disability under the act. Under the ADAAA, disability is defined broadly and mitigating measures (like medication or eyeglasses) generally cannot be used to challenge the disability of a person using the measures. The ADAAA has the effect of making many additional employees "disabled" under the act and requires city employers to provide reasonable accomodations to more employees.
On September 23, 2009, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) proposed rules based on the ADAAA. These rules reflect the broad scope of “disability” under the new Act. The proposed rules go into more detail than previous rules on what is a disability, how mitigating measures are used, and the definition of major life activities, major bodily functions, and what “substantially limits” means. The proposed rules provide examples of these terms that broaden past interpretations of the ADA and provide helpful examples to employers on disability-related employment situations. The proposed rules also specifically state that only prescription eyewear can be considered as a mitigating measure in determining a disability and that employers cannot use eyesight as a factor in hiring or other job placement situations unless this factor is shown to be job-related and consistent with business necessity. The proposed rules clarify that a reasonable accomodation is not required when an individual is merely "regarded as" having a disability. The EEOC is accepting comments on this rulemaking until November 23, 2009. For more information on these proposed rules, including information on how and where to file comments, go to the EEOC's Web site at http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2009/E9-22840.htm.
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