SHRM Commends EEOC for Final Regulations on ADA Amendments Act

Mar 24, 2011
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Alexandria, Va. — The Society for Human Resource Management today welcomed final regulations for the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act for their ability to more closely reflect the intent of the law and the interests of a diversity of stakeholders.

The amendments act was enacted in 2008 to update the Americans with Disabilities Act, which was passed 18 years earlier to prohibit discrimination against people with disabilities in areas including employment. In 2009, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) proposed regulations governing the enforcement of the amendments act. In response, SHRM, business groups and employers raised concerns that the EEOC’s rule went beyond the intent of Congress and might have contradicted the law.

“We are pleased with the bipartisan leadership the EEOC has shown to address some of the problems of the initial proposed regulations and to create a more balanced and workable rule,” said Henry G. (Hank) Jackson, interim president and CEO of SHRM. He noted that the Society still is reviewing the final rule but said, “It now better reflects the bipartisan agreement that led to the bill’s passage.”

The final rule — which human-resource professionals and employers will use to comply with the amendments act — addressed several of SHRM’s concerns, including:

  • Reinstating some of the concepts and language that the employer community had worked with for years under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), specifically how to define the major life activity of “working,” and considering an impairment’s “condition, manner, and duration” when trying to determine whether an individual is substantially limited.
  • Reinstating language that recognizes that “disability” remains an individualized assessment.

Two EEOC commissioners — Chai Feldblum, who played a leading role in drafting the ADA and the amendments act, and Victoria Lipnic — appeared Monday, March 14, at SHRM’s Employment Law & Legislative Conference. During their appearance, they said the commission worked to discern the intent of Congress and sought consensus during a review of the regulations in fall 2010. “One thing that Commissioner Lipnic and I share very strongly is fidelity to the text of what Congress passed,” Feldblum told SHRM members. Late last year, the five-member EEOC approved in a bipartisan vote the final regulations that were released today.

Media: For more information, contact Kate Kennedy of SHRM Media Relations at 703-535-6260 or kate.kennedy@shrm.org.

About the Society for Human Resource Management

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the world’s largest association devoted to human resource management. Representing more than 250,000 members in more than 140 countries, the Society serves the needs of HR professionals and advances the interests of the HR profession. Founded in 1948, SHRM has more than 575 affiliated chapters within the United States and subsidiary offices in China and India. Visit SHRM Online at www.shrm.org and follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/SHRMPress.

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