Last month the EEOC issued regulations to help enforce the ADAA. You can anticipate that most of these regs will become final. They remind us of these important ADAA distinctions, including the fact that the definition of “disability” shall be interpreted broadly:
- A limitation need not “significantly” or “severely” restrict a major life activity in order to meet the disability standard.
- “Major life activities” is defined in two “non-exhaustive” lists:
- One which includes “activities such as caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, sitting, reaching, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and working”
- One which includes “major bodily functions, such as functions of the immune system, special sense organs and skin; normal cell growth; and digestive, genitourinary, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, cardiovascular, endocrine, hemolytic, lymphatic, musculoskeletal, and reproductive functions.”
- Mitigating measures other than “ordinary eyeglasses or contact lenses” shall not be considered in assessing whether an individual has a disability.
- An impairment that is episodic or in remission is a disability if it would substantially limit a major life activity when active.
- Individuals covered under the “regarded as” prong are not entitled to reasonable accommodation (this is still required in California!).
Remember, our favorite ADA resource is the Job Accommodation Network.