The Changing Face of Employment Disability Law by Charlie Plumb

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This article first appeared in @Law Magazine, December 2009.

Increasingly, employers must address issues concerning disabled individuals and employment. Roughly 50 million Americans are disabled, and a little over 22% of our labor force is estimated to include individuals with disabilities. In July 1990 –some 19 years ago – the original Americans With Disabilities Act ("ADA") was signed into law. Its purposes were twofold. For individuals with medical conditions or limitations, the ADA was intended to prevent discrimination in all aspects of employment: hiring, advancement, compensation, and continued employment. The ADA was also designed to facilitate the ongoing and productive employment of disabled individuals. Most states have also adopted their own complimentary employment laws concerning disabled individuals and employment.

In September 2008, the ADA Amendments Act was signed. Its provisions went into effect January 1, 2009. Through the Amendments Act, Congress intended to broaden the ADA's coverage. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is charged with investigating alleged violations of the ADA and enforcing its requirements. In addition to making changes to the ADA's statutory language, Congress directed the EEOC to develop new regulations interpreting the ADA Amendments, and specifically instructed the EEOC to issue guidelines broadening the scope and coverage of the ADA.

In June, the EEOC issued its proposed regulations.

Article authored by McAfee & Taft attorney: Charlie Plumb.

Please see full article below for more information.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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