Mountain

      The Americans With Disabilities Act, Amendments Act of 2008, Continued

      This amendment also rejects strict interpretation of the definition of disability, and makes it absolutely clear that the ADA is intended to provide broad coverage to protect anyone who faces discrimination on the basis of disability.

       
      Significant Changes

       
      The Act explicitly overturns two controversial Supreme Court decisions: Sutton v. United Air Lines, and Toyota Motor Mfg., KY, Inc. v. Williams

       
      It prohibits the consideration of mitigating measures such as medication, prosthetic, and assistive technology, in determining whether an individual has a disability (standard contact lenses and eyeglasses are still considered in assessing disability status). It also covers people who experience discrimination based on a perception of impairment regardless of whether the individual experiences disability, and provides that reasonable accommodations are only required for individuals who can demonstrate they have an impairment that substantially limits a major life activity, or a record of such impairment -- accommodations need not be provided to an individual who is only “regarded as” having an impairment.

       
      In addition, the Act lists major life activities, rather than leaving that phrase open to interpretation as the ADA of 1990 did. The non-exhaustive list of major life activities in § 4(4)(a) includes caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating and working. The act also lists major bodily functions including, but not limited to, functions of the immune system, normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine and reproductive functions, so there can be no ambiguity.

       
      The Act was introduced on July 31, 2008; passed the Senate on September 11, 2008; passed the House on September 17, 2008; was signed by the President on September 25, 2008; and took effect on January 1, 2009.



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