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|ADA Amendments Act of 2008
On September 25, 2008, the President signed the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments
Act of 2008 ("ADA Amendments Act" or "Act"). The Act emphasizes that the definition of disability
should be construed in favor of broad coverage of individuals to the maximum extent permitted by
the terms of the ADA and generally shall not require extensive analysis.
The Act makes important changes to the definition of the term "disability" by rejecting the
holdings in several Supreme Court decisions and portions of EEOC's ADA regulations. The
effect of these changes is to make it easier for an individual seeking protection under the ADA to
establish that he or she has a disability within the meaning of the ADA.
The Act retains the ADA's basic definition of "disability" as an impairment that substantially limits
one or more major life activities, a record of such an impairment, or being regarded as having
such an impairment. However, it changes the way that these statutory terms should be
interpreted in several ways. Most significantly, the Act:
as well as activities that EEOC has not specifically recognized (e.g., reading,
bending, and communicating);
the second list includes major bodily functions (e.g., "functions of the immune
system, normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain,
respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, and reproductive functions");
EEOC will be evaluating the impact of these changes on its enforcement guidances and other
publications addressing the ADA.
The ADA Amendments Act is effective as of January 1, 2009.