The EEOC has released final regulations interpreting the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA). In response to over 600 comments, the EEOC has refined language to clarify its intended meaning, and has streamlined the organization of the regulations to make them simpler to understand. Significant substantive revisions include:
– Clarification that cases in which an applicant or employee does not require reasonable accommodation are evaluated under the “regarded as” prong of disability.
– Changes making the list of body systems in the definition of “impairment” consistent with the description of “major bodily functions.”
– Clarification that pregnancy itself is not a disability, but that a pregnancy-related impairment may be.
– Insertion of the terms “condition, manner, or duration” as concepts that may be relevant to show how an individual is substantially limited, and language to illustrate what these terms mean.– Retention of the original “class or broad range of jobs” language as regards the major life activity of working and an explanation of how this must be applied differently now.
The EEOC did not add terms to quantify “substantially limits” nor did it adopt a six-month durational minimum for showing a disability. The regulations retain the requirement that mitigating measures, other than ordinary eyeglasses or contact lenses, must not be considered in determining disability.
We will be discussing these ADA changes in more detail at our upcoming Employment Law Update Conference. And watch for dates of future briefing sessions. The text of the final regulations is available here and on the EEOC website.