On March 24, 2011, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued the final version of the regulations (pdf) implementing the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA). The final regulations were modified as compared to the EEOC’s initial proposed regulations, and the changes to the regulations made will likely be welcomed by employers. For more information from the EEOC on the ADAAA please click here.
Even with the changes, the regulations make clear that the ADAAA broadened the definition of disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Under the ADAAA that far more impairments will now meet the definition of disability. Importantly however, the regulations state that whether or not an individual has a disability will still be determined on a case-by-case basis.
The ADAAA and the regulations attempt to shift the focus in ADA claims from whether or not an individual has a disability to whether or not prohibited discrimination has occurred. As a practical matter for employers, this approach will shift the focus to the interactive process and the information exchanged during that process.