EEOC Issues Proposed Rule Under the American's with Disabilities Amendments Act (ADAA)

The EEOC recently voted to approve a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to conform its ADA regulations to the Amendments Act of 2008. The NPRM was published in the Federal Register on September 23, 2009.

Some highlights of the proposed rule:

  • The definition of "disability" is to be broadly interpreted.
  • With regard to "substantially limiting a major life activity," the limitation no longer needs to be significant nor severely restrict a major life activity.
  • Greatly expanded the definition of "major life activities."
  • Provides that mitigating measures other than "ordinary eyeglasses or contact lenses" shall not be considered in assessing whether an individual has a "disability." This is far beyond the limitations that were the result of several Supreme Court cases several years ago and what many consider a major influence for the proponents of this new law.
  • An impairment that is in "remission" or "episodic" a disability if it would substantially limit a major life activity when "active."
  • Now an applicant or employee who is subjected to an action prohibited by the ADA because of an actual or perceived impairment will meet the "regarded as" definition of disability, unless the impairment is both transitory and minor.
  • An individual covered only under the "regarded as" prong are not entitled to reasonable accommodation by the employer.
  • With respect to vision, it provides that standards, tests, or other selection criteria based on uncorrected vision cannot be used unless they are shown to be job-related and consistent with business necessity.

The EEOC has also issued a Question and Answer Guide on the Notice of Proposed Rule Making, which, surprisingly, is rather terse and, well, understandable!

Follow these links:

EEOC - Regulations To Implement the Equal Employment Provisions of the Americans With Disabilities Act, as Amended

EEOC Notice Concerning The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) Amendments Act of 2008

EEOC Questions and Answers on the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for the ADA Amendments Act of 2008