Today is the day! Although many thought the day might never come, the final regulations under the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA) are finally effective. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released these long-awaited regulations earlier this spring, and employers have been scrambling to become familiar with the intricacies of the new final rules, which are significantly different from the proposed regulations the EEOC issued in September 2009.
The final regulations aren’t very employer-friendly. In fact, the EEOC makes clear that the ADAAA’s primary purpose is to make it easier for individuals with disabilities to be protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and that employers need to focus on whether they have complied with their obligations under the ADA and whether discrimination has occurred, instead of whether an employee’s impairment meets the definition of disability.
Here’s a look at some of the most significant changes made by the new regulations:
- The regulations provide a list of impairments that will “virtually always” be considered disabilities.
- They expand the definition of “actual disability” by adding more types of major life activities that are covered under the ADA and by broadening the definition of “substantially limits.”
- Most mitigating measures may no longer be considered when determining whether an individual is disabled.
- The regulations expand the definition of “regarded as” disabled.
- An impairment that is episodic or in remission will be considered a disability if it would substantially limit a major life activity when active.
Join HRHero for a closer look at the new regs and other emerging ADA-related issues in the Employers’ ADA Compliance Virtual Summit.
Learn how to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act and ADAAA with the ADA Compliance: Practical Solutions for HR, a practical reference manual which includes a quarterly newsletter with updates on the latest changes in ADA regulations and employment law cases.