New ADA Rules Provide Much Needed Clarification


After a lengthy wait, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued final regulations and interpretive guidance for the Americans With Disabilities Amendments Act (ADAAA), the new disability law which was passed in 2008. Many employers were prepared for the worst after the agency first proposed dramatic and game-changing regulations in 2009 which would have tilted the playing field even further in favor of employees. Although the final regulations published on March 24, 2011 strongly emphasize that the law’s coverage is to be quite broad, the EEOC pulled back from its original position and published regulations that are fairly consistent with the statute.

The best news for employers is that the final regulations answer most of the questions that arose when the proposed regulations were issued. For example, the EEOC answers whether some impairments will be “automatic disabilities,” how the EEOC will analyze “working” as a major life activity, how condition, manner, and duration may be relevant in determining whether an impairment is a disability, and the length of time a condition must last to be a protected disability. Here is a summary of the major highlights of the regulations.

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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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