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Employee Online Training 

All employees are required to review the Americans with Disabilities Act upon hire and annually thereafter.

You will be paid .25 hours for viewing this video, reading and
SIGNING THE ADA OVERVIEW. Be sure to record "training time" on your time sheet on the day you took this training. You will not be paid for this training time if you have not submitted your electronic signature to Human Resources. Your supervisor will be notified when you have submitted the signature page. 

Click HERE to return to the Employee Main Page.

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Ask a JAN Consultant

 

JAN provides free, confidential technical assistance about job accommodations and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).


800-526-7234 (Voice)
877-781-9403 (TTY)

The Americans with Disabilities Act 

A BRIEF OVERVIEW

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law on July 26, 1990. Its overall purpose is to make American Society more accessible to people with disabilities. In 2008, the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA) was passed. Its purpose is to broaden the definition of disability, which had been narrowed by U.S. Supreme Court decisions.

The ADA is divided into five titles:

1. Employment (Title I)
Title I requires covered employers to provide reasonable accommodations for applicants and employees with disabilities and prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in all aspects of employment. Reasonable accommodation includes, for example, restructuring jobs, making work-sites and workstations accessible, modifying schedules, providing services such as interpreters, and modifying equipment and policies. Title I also regulates medical examinations and inquiries. For more information, see http://AskJAN.org/links/adalinks.htm#I.

2. Public Services (Title II)
Under Title II, public services (which include state and local government agencies, the National Railroad Passenger Corporation, and other commuter authorities) cannot deny service to people with disabilities or deny participation in programs or activities that are available to people without disabilities. In addition, public transportation systems, such as public transit buses, must be accessible to individuals with disabilities. For more information, see http://AskJan.org/links/adalinks.htm#II.

3. Public Accommodations (Title III)
Public accommodations include facilities such as restaurants, hotels, grocery stores, retail stores, etc., as well as privately owned transportation systems. Title III requires that all new construction and modifications must be accessible to individuals with disabilities. For existing facilities, barriers to services must be removed if readily achievable. For more information, see http://AskJAN.org/links/adalinks.htm#III.

4. Telecommunications (Title IV)
Telecommunications companies offering telephone service to the general public must have telephone relay service to individuals who use telecommunication devices for the deaf (TTYs) or similar devices.

5. Miscellaneous (Title V)
This title includes a provision prohibiting wither (a) coercing or threatening or (b) retaliating against individuals with disabilities or those attempting to aid people with disabilities in asserting their rights under the ADA.

 

The ADA's protection applies primarily, but not exclusively, to individuals who meet the ADA's definition of disability. An individual has disability if:

 

1. He or she has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of his / her major life activities;

2. He or she has a record of such an impairment; or

3. He or she is regarded as having such an impairment.

As mentioned above, the ADA's definition of disability was broadened by the ADAAA, which went into effect in January 2009. For more information, see Accommodation and Compliance Series: The ADA Amendments Act of 2008 at http://AskJAN.org/bulletins/adaaa1.htm. Other individuals who are protected in certain circumstances include 1) those, such as parents, who have an association with an individual known to have a disability, and 2) those who are coerced or subjected to retaliation for assisting people with disabilities in asserting their rights under the ADA.While the employment provisions of the ADA apply to employers of fifteen employees or more, its public accommodations provisions apply to all sizes of business, regardless of number of employees. State and local governments are covered regardless of size.

Facts on the EEOC's Final Regulations Implementing the ADAAA


The ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA) was enacted on September 25, 2008, and became effective on January 1, 2009. The law made a number of significant changes to the definition of "disability" under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). It also directed the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to amend its ADA regulations to reflect the changes mane by the ADAAA. The EEOC issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on September 23, 2009. The final regulations were approved by a bipartisan vote and were published in the Federal Register on March 25, 2011.

In enacting the ADAAA, Congress made it easier for an individual seeking protection under the ADA to establish that he or she has a disability within the meaning of the statute. Congress overturned several Supreme Court decisions that Congress believed had interpreted the definition of "disability" too narrowly, resulting in a denial of protection for many individuals with impairments such as cancer, diabetes, and epilepsy. The ADAAA states that the definition of disability should be interpreted in favor of broad coverage of individuals.

The EEOC regulations implement the ADAAA - in particular, Congress's mandate that the definition of disability be construed broadly. Following the ADAAA, the regulations keep the ADA's definition of the term "disability" as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; a record (or past history) of such impairment, or being regarded as having a disability. But the regulations implement the significant changes that Congress made regarding how those terms should be interpreted.

The regulations implement Congress's intent to set forth predictable, consistent, and workable standard by adopting "rules of construction" to use when determining if an individual is substantially limited in performing a major life activity. These rules of construction are derived from the statute and legislative history and include the following:

  • The term "substantially limits" requires a lower degree of functional limitation than the standard previously applied by the courts. An impairment doe not need to prevent or severely or significantly restrict a major life activity to be considered "substantially limiting". Nonetheless, not every impairment will constitute a disability.

  • The term "substantially limits" is to be considered broadly in favor of expansive coverage, to the maximum extent permitted by the terms of the ADA.

  • The determination of whether an impairment substantially limits a major life activity requires an individual assessment, as was true prior to the ADAAA.

  • With one exception ("ordinary eyeglasses or contact lenses"), the 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 medication or hearing aids. 

  • An impairment that is episodic or in remission is a disability if it would substantially limit a major life activity when active.

  • In keeping with Congress's direction that the primary focus of the ADA is on whether discrimination occurred, the determination of disability should not require extensive analysis.

 

As required by the ADAAA, the regulations also make it easier for individuals to establish coverage under the "regarded as" part of the definition of "disability". As a result of court interpretations, it had become difficult for individuals to establish coverage under the "regarded as" prong. Under ADAAA, the focus for establishing coverage is on how a person has been treated because of a physical or mental impairment (that is not transitory and minor), rather than on what an employer may have believed about the nature of the person's impairment.

The regulations clarify, however, that an individual must be covered under the first prong ("actual disability") or second prong ("record of disability") in order to qualify for a reasonable accommodation. The regulations clarify that it is generally not necessary to proceed under the first or second prong if an individual is not challenging an employer's failure to provide a reasonable accommodation.

The final regulations differ from the NPRM in a number of ways. The final regulations modify or remove language that groups representing employer or disability interests had found confusing or had interpreted in a manner not intended by the EEOC. For example:

  • Instead of providing a list of impairments that would "consistently", "sometimes", or "usually not" be disabilities (as had been done in the NPRM), the final regulations provide the nine rules of construction to guide the analysis and explain that by applying these principles, there will be some impairments that virtually always constitute a disability. The regulations also provide examples of impairments that should easily be concluded to be disabilities, including epilepsy, diabetes, cancer, HIV infection, and bipolar disorder.

  • Language in the NPRM describing how to demonstrate that an individual is substantially limited in "working" has been deleted from the final regulations and moved to the appendix (consistent with how other major life activities are addressed). The final regulations also retain the existing familiar language of "class or broad range of jobs" rather than introducing a new term, and they provide examples of individuals who could be considered substantially limited in working.

  • The final regulations retain the concepts of "condition, manner, or duration" that the NPRM had proposed to delete and explain that while consideration of these factors may be unnecessary to determine whether an impairment substantially limits a major life activity, they may be relevant in certain cases.

 

The commission has released two Question-and-Answer documents about the regulations to aid the public and employers - including small business - in understanding the law and new regulations. The ADAAA regulations and accompanying Question and Answers documents are available on the EEOC web site at www.eeoc.gov.