The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the federal law protecting individuals with disabilities, was amended in September 2008 to broaden the scope of the ADA’s protections for disabled individuals. In enacting the amendment, Congress directed the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to revise its regulations defining “substantially limits” to be consistent with its goal of expanding “coverage of individuals under this Act, to the maximum extent permitted.”  

The EEOC recently voted along party lines (December 11, 2008) not to approve a notice of proposed rulemaking on the ADA amendments. Until the EEOC issues new regulations to implement the amended law, employers cannot appreciate the full impact of these amendments. It is clear, however, that more employees will benefit from the protections of the ADA than ever before.  

To comply with the new law, be alert to any ADA issues in the workplace, and plan to train human resources staff on the amendments when the new regulations are issued.