EEOC approves ADA Amendments Act Regulations

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Bill Leonard at the Society for Human Resource Management reports that the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has approved a final version of its regulations for the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act, a version of which the EEOC put out for public comment back in September 2009.

More after the jump.

Under the ADAAA, the basic three-part ADA definition is retained: 

    1. a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; 
    2. a record of such an impairment; or 
    3. being regarded as having such an impairment.

    However, the meaning of these terms has changed.

    Under the ADAAA, an impairment need not prevent, or significantly or severely restrict, performance of a major life activity to be “substantially limiting.” Rather, a disability “shall be construed in favor of broad coverage” and “should not require extensive analysis.” Additionally, positive effects of mitigating measures (except for ordinary eyeglasses and contact lenses) are ignored in determining whether an impairment is substantially limiting.

    What does all of this mean for Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware employers? It won’t take much for an employee to demonstrate that he or she is disabled. Therefore, it is imperative that if an employee requests a reasonable accommodation, the employer should engage that employee in an interactive dialogue to determine what can be done to accommodate that employee. Employers can learn more about the interactive dialogue here.

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