Americans with Disabilities Act
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities. 42
USC 12101 et seq. A qualified individual with a disability is an
individual with a disability who, with or without a reasonable
accommodation, can perform the essential functions of the job. The term
"discrimination" under the ADA includes not making a reasonable
accommodation, unless the accommodation would impose an undue hardship
on the employer.
The ADA borrows the definition of "employer from Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which requires 15 or more employees. An employee includes those who work each day in each of 20 or more calendar weeks in the current or preceding year.
The United States and private 501(c)(3) clubs are excluded from the definition of "employer."
The ADA protects "Qualified individuals." The qualifier, "with a disability," was dropped with the amendments contained in the ADAAA.
A qualified individual means:
42 USC 12111.
Prohibition Against Discrimination
The ADA states that a covered employer shall not:
discriminate against a qualified individual on the basis of disability in regard to job application procedures, the hiring, advancement, or discharge of employees, employee compensation, job training, and other terms, conditions, and privileges of employment.
(B) denying employment opportunities to a job applicant or employee who is an otherwise qualified individual with a disability, if such denial is based on the need of such covered entity to make reasonable accommodation to the physical or mental impairments of the employee or applicant;
Definition of Disability
The term "disability" means, with respect to an individual--
Major life activities.
The ADAAA amendments modify the definition of Major Life Activities and by expand the definition of "regarded as disabled," discussed below.
Major life activities now include, but are not limited to:
(A) caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and working; and
The ADA does not define the term "substantially limits." Rather, the EEOC does so in section 1630.2(f) of its regulations. 29 CFR Part 1630. The ADAAA, however, directs the EEOC to revise its definition of "substantially limits" in accordance with the following directions:
determination of whether an impairment substantially limits a major
life activity shall be made without regard to the ameliorative effects
of mitigating measures such as-
(II) use of assistive technology;
(III) reasonable accommodations or auxiliary aids or services; or
(IV) learned behavioral or adaptive neurological modifications.
(II) the term "low-vision devices" means devices that magnify, enhance, or otherwise augment a visual image.
term "substantially limits" shall be interpreted consistently with the
findings and purposes of the ADA Amendments Act of 2008.
impairment that substantially limits one major life activity need not
limit other major life activities in order to be considered a
- An impairment that is episodic or in remission is a disability if it would substantially limit a major life activity when active.
Regarded as Disabled
The ADA, as amended by the ADAAA, now states that an individual meets the requirement of "being regarded as having such an impairment" if the individual establishes that he or she has been subjected to an action prohibited under this Act because of an actual or perceived physical or mental impairment whether or not the impairment limits or is perceived to limit a major life activity. In other words, the employer does not have to regard the impairment as subtantially limiting. As long as the employee proves that the employer discriminated against him or her because of an impairment, real or imagined, the employer has discriminated against the employee on the basis of a disability. However, this shall not apply to impairments that are transitory and minor. A transitory impairment is an impairment with an actual or expected duration of 6 months or less.
Supervisor and Individual Liability Under the ADA
Supervisors and individuals are not liable under the ADA, unless they otherwise meet the statutory definition requiring employment of 15 employees.
Links to external sites with additional information about this topic.
Related MEL Content
Questions & Answersmore »
Blog Articlesmore »