The EEOC will be releasing the final regulations implementing the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act (ADAAA) officially tomorrow, but the final version has been provided by the agency this afternoon.
You can download the regulations here.
The EEOC has also issued a press release that declares that the regulations do the following:
- directs EEOC to revise that portion of its regulations defining the term "substantially limits";
- expands the definition of "major life activities" by including two non-exhaustive lists:
the first list includes many activities that the EEOC has recognized (e.g., walking) as well as activities that EEOC has not specifically recognized (e.g., reading, bending, and communicating);
he second list includes major bodily functions (e.g., "functions of the immune system, normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, and reproductive functions");
- states that mitigating measures other than "ordinary eyeglasses or contact lenses" shall not be considered in assessing whether an individual has a disability;
- clarifies that an impairment that is episodic or in remission is a disability if it would substantially limit a major life activity when active;
- changes the definition of "regarded as" so that it no longer requires a showing that the employer perceived the individual to be substantially limited in a major life activity, and instead says that an applicant or employee is "regarded as" disabled if he or she is subject to an action prohibited by the ADA (e.g., failure to hire or termination) based on an impairment that is not transitory and minor;
- provides that individuals covered only under the "regarded as" prong are not entitled to reasonable accommodation.
SHRM sent an e-mail to members indicating that they were pleased with several changes from the draft version including that the final version:
- Reinstates language to clarify that "disability" remains an individualized determination;
- Reinstates other basic concepts of the ADA including definition of the major life activity of "working" and use of "condition, manner, and duration" when trying to determine disability; and,
- Removes an unnecessary "clarification" prohibiting employers from taking action based on a "symptom" of impairment under the "regarded as" clause of the statute.
I’ll have a full recap in a followup post but expect to hear lots more about this in the days to come.