Sunday, September 27, 2009

New Definition of Disability Published

New definition of disability has just been published by the federal EEOC under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The new regulations specifically address the definition of disability within the ADAAA of 2008, which has been in effect since January 1, 2009.

The new regulations explain that certain impairments will create a presumption of disability. These impairments include many aspects, 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 have its meaning that an employee who has been diagnosed with any of those conditions is presumed to be disabled and entitled to reasonable accommodation. This is only the common-sense approach to disabilities.

Under the old rule, each employee had to individually demonstrate that the condition limited one or more major life activities. The federal agency claims an individualized assessment of whether a substantial limitation exists “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.

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