On May 15, 2013, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) issued four revised question-and-answer publications on the application of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) to individuals with cancer, diabetes, epilepsy, and intellectual disabilities. According to the EEOC, the revised publications reflect the changes to the definition of disability made by the 2008 ADA Amendments Act (“ADAAA”).
In the revised publications, the EEOC states that as a result of changes made by the ADAAA, individuals with cancer, diabetes, epilepsy, or an intellectual disability “should easily be found to have a disability within the meaning” of the ADA because they are substantially limited in, respectively, the major life activities of normal cell growth, endocrine function, neurological functions, and brain function. According to a press release issued by the EEOC, nearly 34 million Americans have been diagnosed with cancer, diabetes, or epilepsy, while more than two million have an intellectual disability.
Each of the revised documents addresses the following topics for the relevant condition: when an employer may ask an applicant or employee questions about his or her condition and how it should treat voluntary disclosures; what types of reasonable accommodations employees with the condition may need; how an employer should handle safety concerns about applicants and employees with the condition; and how an employer can ensure that no employee is harassed because of the condition.
The revised documents are available on the EEOC’s website at “Disability Discrimination, The Question and Answer Series.”