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Congress Passes ADA Amendments Act of 2008

Published by on September 18, 2008

Congress has passed and forwarded to President Bush a bill substantially amending the ADA.  News reports indicate that the President will sign the bill.  Stories are here and here. A copy of the final bill can be found here.  Significant provisions in the bill include: One stated purpose of the Act is to reinstate “a […]

Congress has passed and forwarded to President Bush a bill substantially amending the ADA.  News reports indicate that the President will sign the bill.  Stories are here and here.

A copy of the final bill can be found here.  Significant provisions in the bill include:

  • One stated purpose of the Act is to reinstate “a broad scope of protection to be available under the ADA.”
  • The Act is specifically intended to overturn the Supreme Court decisions in Sutton and Toyota that placed limitations on the definitions of “disability” and “substantially limits.”
  • The Act provides that mitigating measures should not be considered when determining whether a person has a covered “disability.”

Several other blogs have commentary, including the Connecticut Employment Law Blog, Ohio Employer’s Law Blog, Manpower Employment Law Blawg, and Workplace Prof Blog.

The practical impact of these amendments will be to expand the scope of ADA coverage, which is the express intent of Congress.  In other words, employees not previously considered “disabled” under the ADA will now be covered.  Employers will be well-advised to carefully consider whether it is appropriate to refuse to accommodate an employee on the ground that they are not “disabled” given the new standard.

UPDATE:  The Connecticut Employment Law Blog has an updated post here on the ADA Amendments that discusses the Act in greater detail and has a post here noting that the Act was signed into law by President Bush.

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