The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently published a proposed rule to implement the “Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act” (ADAAA). Congress passed the ADAAA on September 25, 2008.
The proposed rule has a 60-day comment period that ends on November 23, 2009. SHRM plans to provide the HR perspective by submitting comments to the EEOC prior to this date.
Both the employer and disability communities have awaited EEOC’s revisions to existing ADA regulations that must conform to Congress’s intent in enacting the ADAAA. Although the effective date of the ADAAA was January 1, 2009, philosophical disagreements among EEOC commissioners prevented the issuance of an earlier version of the proposed rule.
In 2008, SHRM was instrumental in bringing together representatives from employer and disability organizations. The Society led efforts to draft and support the ADAAA.
Key issues in the new law include the interpretation of the term “disability,” and whether an impairment “substantially limits” a major life activity. These are also the pivotal issues facing the EEOC as it crafts a final rule.
Some employer groups are concerned that the EEOC’s proposed rule improperly moves away from an individualized assessment of disability. They believe the draft rule would instead create a system where certain impairments are automatically considered “per se” disabilities.
If you are interested in offering recommendations on how the ADAAA should be enforced, please e-mail Nancy Hammer, SHRM’s Manager of Regulatory and Judicial Affairs.
To read the full text of the proposed regulation, click HERE.