HR pros, get ready: New rules on disability accommodations will go into effect on January 1.
Congress recently approved a proposal to significantly overhaul the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The ADA Amendments Act will now reach the president’s desk. Earlier this week, the White House released a statement praising the bill and announcing that the president looks forward to signing it.
The changes, effective January 1, 2009:
- More “major life activities” — The bill gives a hefty list of examples of what’s considered a major life activity, which would expand the definition beyond what most courts have ruled. (The list of examples: “caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating and working.”)
- No mitigating measures — The amendments would also reverse a Supreme Court decision that allows the consideration of “mitigating measures” — i.e., medicine or equipment that lessens an impairment — when deciding whether an employee is disabled.
- Protection for conditions in remission — If a condition is in remission, the employee will still be ADA-protected if the condition would qualify as a disability when active.
For more on the ADAAA, go here.