EEOC Issues Final Regulations Implementing the ADA Amendments Act

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Last week, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) published its final regulations implementing the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA). The regulations, which will become effective May 24, 2011, enforce the broadened scope of coverage as provided by the ADAA, and offer more specific guidance as to what types of impairments constitute “disabilities” under the law.

The ADAAA, which became effective January 1, 2009, broadens the scope of what is a “disability” under the ADA. Rejecting three Supreme Court decisions that had narrowed the definition of “disability,” the statute provides that (a) an impairment that substantially limits one major life activity need not limit any other major life activities to qualify as a “disability”; (b) an impairment may be episodic or in remission yet qualify as a “disability”; and (c) the determination of whether an impairment substantially limits a major life activity shall not consider the ameliorative effects of mitigating measures such as medication or accommodation. The statute expressly called for the EEOC to revise its regulations to be consistent with the ADAAA.

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