US Justice Depart Issues New Regulations Implementing the ADA Amendments Act
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News   US Justice Depart Issues New Regulations Implementing the ADA Amendments Act


Informational Alert prepared by Fifth Freedom – Information courtesy of the US Department of Justice
 The Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) went into effect on January 1 of 2009.  The main purpose of this act was to nullify previous court decisions that narrowed the definition of disability und the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), broadenening the definition to make it more in line with the original intent of Congress when the ADA was passed. 
   Under the ADAAA, a "disability" is "an impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a record of such impairment , or being regarded as having such an impairment."
   The US Department of of Justice is proposing new regulations that would incorporate changes made by the ADAAA into its ADA regulations.  These new regulations provide detailed definitions of "disability", and make other changes to regulations for consistency.  The Department would like to hear your thoughts on this proposal.  Public comments are due by March 31.

Summary of the new regulations:
  • The term disability shall be interpreted broadly.
  • The primary object of ADA court cases should be to determine if the business, government agency, or other organization has complied with their obligations under ADA or if discrimination has occurred, and the question of wheter an individual’s impairment is a "disability" should not be the focus.
  • The regulations state that "substantially limits should be construed  broadly in favor of expansive coverage.
  • If people take measuresto reduce or eliminate the effect of a disability, such as taking medication, these measures, shall not be considered in assessing whether they have a disability, (Eyeglasses excluded)
  • Impairments that are episodic or are in remission are still considered disabilities when not active.
  • For an individual to qualify as "regarded as" having a disability, they do not have to demonstrate that they have, or are perceived to have, an impairment that substantially limits a major life activity.
  • Individuals who are only qualified under "regarded as" having a disability are not entitled to reasonable modification/accomodations.

Comments are Due by March 31, 2014.  If this issue is important to you, you can comment online at: http://www.regulations.

For more questions or more information, call the Department’s Toll-Free ADA information Line (800)514-0301 (voice) or (800)514-0383 (TTY)

For more information about the ADAAA, read Fifth Freedom’s summary here:

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