Notice of Rights Under The ADA from EEOC on
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Notice of Rights Under the ADA Amendments Act of
ADA was amended, effective January 1, 2009, to
broaden the definitions of disability to make it
easier for individuals to be covered under the ADA/ADAAA.
A disability is still defined as (1) a physical or
mental impairment that substantially limits one or
more major life activities (actual disability); (2)
a record of a substantially limiting impairment; or
(3) being regarded as having a disability.
However, these terms
are redefined, and it is easier to be covered under
the new law.
If you plan to retain an attorney to
assist you with your ADA claim, we recommend that
you share this information with your attorney and
suggest that he or she consult the amended
regulations and appendix, and other ADA related
publications, available at
"Actual" disability or a "record of" a
disability (note: if you are pursuing a failure to
accommodate claim you must meet the standards for
either "actual" or "record of" a disability):
The limitations from the impairment no
longer have to be severe or significant
for the impairment to be considered
In addition to activities such as performing
manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing,
speaking, breathing, learning, thinking,
concentrating, reading, bending, and
communicating (more examples at 29 C.F.R. §
1630.2(i)), "major life activities"
now include the operation of 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, hemic, lymphatic, musculoskeletal,
and reproductive functions; or the operation of
an individual organ within a body system.
Only one major life activity
need be substantially limited.
With the exception of ordinary eyeglasses or
contact lenses, the beneficial
effects of "mitigating measures"
(e.g., hearing aid, prosthesis, medication,
therapy, behavioral modifications)
are not considered in determining if
the impairment substantially limits a major life
An impairment that is "episodic"
(e.g., epilepsy, depression, multiple sclerosis)
or "in remission" (e.g.,
cancer) is a disability if it would
be substantially limiting when active.
An impairment may be
substantially limiting even though
it lasts or is expected to last
fewer than six months.
"Regarded as" coverage:
An individual can meet the definition of
disability if an employment action
was taken because of an actual or perceived
impairment (e.g., refusal to hire,
demotion, placement on involuntary leave,
termination, exclusion for failure to meet a
qualification standard, harassment, or denial of
any other term, condition, or privilege of
"Regarded as" coverage under the ADAAA no
longer requires that an impairment be
substantially limiting, or that the employer
perceives the impairment it to be substantially
The employer has a defense against a
"regarded as" claim only when the impairment at
issue is objectively
transitory (lasting or expected to last six
months or less)
A person is not able to bring a failure to
if the individual is covered only under the
"regarded as" definition of "disability."
Although the amended ADA states that the definition
of disability "shall be construed broadly" and
"should not demand extensive analysis," some courts
require specificity in the complaint explaining how
an impairment substantially limits a major life
activity or what facts indicate the challenged
employment action was because of the impairment.
Beyond the initial pleading stage, some courts will
require specific evidence to establish disability.
For more information, consult the amended
regulations and appendix, as well as explanatory
publications, available at