Americans with Disabilities Act Final Regulations

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued final Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations and accompanying interpretive guidance to implement the ADA Amendments Act of 2008. The ADA Amendments Act rejected the holdings in several Supreme Court decisions and portions of the EEOC’s ADA regulations, making it easier for an individual to establish that he or she has a disability under the Act. Among many other changes, the final regulations list nine rules of construction to determine if an individual is “substantially limited” in a major life activity. Likewise, the regulations offer a long list of impairments where it should be “easily concluded” that the impairments substantially limit a major life activity. Although the EEOC had proposed altering the definition of the major life activity of “working,” the final regulation keep the current definition intact (“class of jobs or broad range of jobs”). The EEOC also had proposed protections for individuals with “symptoms” of an impairment, but that language was not included in the final regulation. Regarding the amount and type of evidence needed to establish a disability, the EEOC clarified that the presentation of scientific, medical, or statistical evidence is not prohibited but is also not usually required. The final regulations will be effective on May 24, 2011.    

Final rule, 76 Fed. Reg. 16,978 (Mar. 25, 2011)
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