EEOC Updates Definition of ADA Disability

 The EEOC recently backed down from wide ranging expansion of the definition of disability in the workplace.


The federal agency took the unusual action of eliminating portions of the ADAAA regulations that were most troubling to employers. On March 24, 2011, the EEOC adopted the final rule implementing the ADAAA or Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act. However, the EEOC stepped back from designating a list of conditions that are always disabilities under ADAAA.


Under the new regulations, the EEOC still requires an expansive definition of disability in the workplace. It cautions employers that most employees will not require extensive analysis to determine if they have a disability. However, instead of providing a list of presumed disabilities, the new ADAAA regulations link certain conditions to the individual’s limitation to a major life activity.


The definition is important, because under ADA, the Americans with Disabilities Act, employers must grant reasonable accommodations to employees with a disability.


Some conditions that are still a disability if they limit a major life activity:


2009 EEOC Changes

Every employer should be aware that the EEOC definition of a disabled employee changes on January 1, 2009.


A new law, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Amendments Act of 2008, or ADAA, expands the definition of disability in the workplace. The original ADA, passed in 1990, requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities.  Initially the term “employees with disabilities” was interpreted very broadly. A number of court cases have restricted that definition over the years. The 2008 act is a return to the less restrictive definition of disability.


The new ADAA even overturns several of the EEOC’s previous regulations regarding who is and is not disabled under the law. The agency is still creating final regulations under ADAA.


Under the old EEOC regulations, an employee had to have a condition that “substantially limited” his or her ability to perform one of several “major life activities” in order to be considered. Major life activities included grooming and dressing oneself, shopping and preparing food, taking public transportation or using a phone book.


The new ADAA expands that list of “major life activities” to include Continue reading

Colorado Breastfeeding Law

A new Colorado law requires employers to make accommodations for nursing mothers in the workplace.

Under the new law, statute 8-13 5-104 CRS, both public and private employers must provide reasonable unpaid break time or permit an employee to use paid Continue reading

Understanding the 2009 Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Changes

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, Continue reading

2009 Americans with Disabilities Act Guidelines

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or EEOC recently  issued a comprehensive question-and-answer guide that clarifies performance and conduct issues under ADA, the Americans with Disabilities Act.


The document addressing a wide variety of problems, is available in its entirety at


Under Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act , employment discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities is prohibited.


However, the ADA and Rehabilitation Act generally do not impinge Continue reading