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ADA employment provisions semi-fixed!!! On 9/25/08 President Bush signed S. 3406, The ADA Amendment Act of 2008

The 2008 Amendments to the ADA are effective January 1, 2009. Here are some links to more info:

We hope the ADA Amendments eliminate the infamous “Tightrope”:

The Tightrope kills almost all ADA employment cases. For many years, due to court decisions, few workers could qualify as “disabled”. (With some exceptions) Only those few who could walk the tightrope were disabled.

Here’s what “the tightrope” refers to: To be protected by the ADA at work, you have to be very very limited, despite your medicines, leg braces, or other helpful measures, and yet you have to still be able to do the job. The more limited you are, then the less likely it is that you can do the job (and therefore you are not covered by the law) — The more able you are, then you are probably not disabled enough to be covered by the law. So, those who are covered are those who can walk the tightrope – they are sufficiently disabled, yet they can still do the job. Few people can walk the tightrope.

Here’s a portion of the Bill Summary describing the most important employment-related changes in S. 3406 —

Begin quote of part of bill summary

ADA Amendments Act of 2008 –
Section 4 –

Amends the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) to redefine the term “disability,” including by defining “major life activities” and “being regarded as having such an impairment.”

Sets forth rules of construction regarding the definition of “disability,” including that: (1) such term shall be construed in favor of broad coverage of individuals under the Act; (2) an impairment that substantially limits one major life activity need not limit other major life activities in order to be a disability; (3) an impairment that is episodic or in remission is a disability if it would substantially limit a major life activity when active; and (4) the determination of whether an impairment substantially limits a major life activity shall be made without regard to the ameliorative effects of specified mitigating measures.

End quote of part of bill summary

To conclude – Predictions for changes due to The ADA Amendments Act of 2008:

  • Companies will be likely to assume that significant long term health conditions are covered by the ADA. This is a complete 100% reversal of the existing situation, where companies now predict that the condition is NOT going to be a qualified disability
  • Companies will be much easier to deal with when employees request accommodation of their health conditions.
  • Companies should be very careful with employees whose job issues are related to their health conditions, whether or not the employees have requested accommodation of a disability.
  • The EEOC will be very aggressive for a few years in enforcing the ADA amendments.

***** END OF ARTICLE ***** Missouri Employment Law

Maintained by Attorney Phil Willoughby
Founded by Tim Willoughby, Esq. (1959-2013)

Phil is a Missouri employment lawyer who is licensed to practice in Kansas and Missouri, and primarily takes cases in Saint Louis and Kansas City. He is a member of the Missouri Bar Association and Kansas Bar Association. Additionally, he has practiced in the United States Federal Courts of Missouri in St. Louis and Kansas City. He has also practiced in the Kansas Federal District Court in Kansas City, Kansas.

Missouri Bar Website (To view the directory of lawyers).

Phil Willoughby, Attorney
Licensed in Missouri and Kansas

Kansas City Office:
9800 NW Polo, Suite 100
Kansas City, MO 64153
Google Map of 9800 NW Polo, Kansas City, MO 64053

St. Louis, MO Office:
Appointment Only

St. Louis: 314-729-7750
Kansas City: 816-454-5600
Fax: 816-454-3678

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