The Disability Nondiscrimination Law Advisor helps employers navigate a complex web of interrelated laws and regulations including ADA, ADAAA, workers’ compensation laws, and other federal laws. It also enables federal contractors to search for regulations and statutes relevant to their situation.
“We made it easier for employers of all sizes to access the talents of the 36 million Americans with disabilities,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy Kathleen Martinez. “By providing this interactive and easy-to-use online tool, workers and employers can readily access and understand their rights and responsibilities under federal disability nondiscrimination laws.”
The online tool provides employers with up-to-date information on a variety of regulations and laws (more…)
On September 23, 2009, the EEOC published proposed rules regarding disabilities in the Federal Register.
These new rules change the definition of a disability under the ADAAA, the ADA Amendments Act of 2008, which went into effect on January 1, 2009. That law requires the EEOC to interpret the term “disability” broadly.
The law returns the meaning to disability to that enforced by the EEOC in 1990 soon after the ADA was passed. Over time, the courts have continually eroded the definition of disability under the law, requiring more proof of more severe impairments.
Some of the notable changes that employers need to be aware of:
An impairment that substantially limits a major bodily function is sufficient to constitute a disability. Under the old regulations, a condition like cancer or AIDS did not in and of itself, constitute an impairment. The employee had to show that he or she was limited in major life functions by the condition. Under the new regulations, such a condition in and of itself is a disability.
Mitigating measures must be disregarded. (more…)
Under the new rule, certain impairments will create a presumption of disability. These impairments include epilepsy, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, developmental disabilities, deafness, blindness, use of a wheelchair due to mobility problems, autism, cerebral palsy, HIV/AIDS, muscular dystrophy, major depression, bipolar disorder, partial or complete amputations, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and schizophrenia.
The new ADA rules mean that an employee who has been diagnosed with any of those conditions is presumed to be disabled and entitled to reasonable accommodation.
This may seem to be a common-sense approach to disabilities, but it has not always been so.
Under the old rules, each employee claiming a disability had to individually demonstrate that the condition limited one or more major life activities. A very large company might have 10 blind employees. Each blind employee would have to individually prove that blindness impaired their performance at one or more major life activities like reading, walking, using a phone book, using public transportation, cooking, shopping, personal grooming, etc.
An individualized assessment of whether a substantial limitation exists should still be done, according to the EEOC. However, the federal agency claims this “can be done very quickly and easily with respect to these types of impairments, and will consistently result in a finding of disability.”
Employers should note that the list of impairments is not exhaustive. Other conditions (more…)
Recent changes to Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or EEOC regulations, which will go into effect on January 1, 2009, update the definition of a disability under the law. It’s vital for every employer to be aware of these changes.
Originally, the EEOC took a very broad view of the term “disability” under the ADA, or Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Since that time, a number of Supreme Court decisions have narrowed the definition of a disability considerably.
It’s important to understand the history of these regulations. In one of the most obvious cases, the Supreme Court ruled that an employee was considered not to have a disability if the employee, using a mitigating measure, (more…)
A number of employees, who were not disabled in 2008, will legally be considered disabled in 2009, without any change in their condition.
A new law signed by President Bush on September 25, 2008 includes major changes in employment law related to disabled employees. These changes, which are effective January 1, 2009, affect every employer who has an impaired worker, or may have one in the future.