Sweeping Amendments to ADA
On September 25, 2008, President Bush signed into law landmark legislation that focuses on expanding the coverage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The law is set to take effect on January 1, 2009.
The Amendments direct that:
The term disability must be construed in favor of broad coverage of individuals.
An impairment that substantially limits one major life activity need not limit other major life activities to be a disability.
A disability includes individuals suffering from episodic impairments or impairments that are in remission, so long as the impairment would substantially limit a major life activity when active.
Courts must disregard corrective measures such as medication or treatment when determining whether an impairment substantially limits a major life activity.
The Amendment specifies that "major life activities" for purposes of determining disability include physical tasks such as walking, standing, and lifting; mental tasks such as learning, reading, and thinking; and even the operation of major bodily functions, such as immune system functions, cell growth, and reproductive functions.
The ADA Amendments Act also redefines the requirements of being "regarded as having an impairment" to include any person who is subjected to discrimination prohibited by the ADA, whether or not an actual or perceived impairment limits the individual's major life activities.