Public Comment Invited on Proposed Changes to ADA Regulations

Date: September 24, 2009
DBTAC National Network of ADA Centers


The public has been given 60 days to comment on proposed revisions to
regulations implementing the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA),
as amended by the ADA Amendments Act of 2008. The regulatory changes,
contained in a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking just announced by the U.S.
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), focuses on providing
individuals seeking protection against employment discrimination under Title
I of the ADA with a more expansive definition of “disability.” Written
comments must be submitted on or before November 23, 2009.

The ADA is an antidiscrimination statute passed by Congress and signed into
law by the President in July 1990. The EEOC is responsible for enforcing
Title I of the ADA, which prohibits employment discrimination against
individuals with disabilities. The ADA requires employers to make
reasonable accommodations to employees and job applicants with disabilities.

“We encourage the public to submit comments directly to the EEOC” said
disabilities will be the winners when the new regulations are fully
implemented and extensive public comment will ensure they are the best that
they can be.”

The ADA Amendments Act, which went into effect Jan. 1, 2009, and the
regulatory revisions embedded in the proposed rule now available for public
comment, makes it easier for an individual alleging employment
discrimination based on disability to establish that he or she meets the
ADA’s definitions of “disability.” The ADA Amendments Act also modifies the
Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which prohibits employment discrimination in the
federal workforce on the basis of disability.

The regulatory changes in the proposed rule emphasize that the definition of
disability—an impairment that poses a substantial limitation in a major life
activity—must be construed in favor of broad coverage of individuals to the
maximum extent permitted by the terms of the ADA, and should not require
extensive analysis.

The regulatory changes expand major life activities to include “major bodily
functions, and clarify that mitigating measures, such as medications and
devices that people use to reduce or eliminate the effects of impairment,
are not to be considered when determining whether a person has a
disability. They also clarify that impairments that are episodic or in
remission, such as epilepsy, cancer, and many kinds of psychiatric
impairments, are disabilities if they would “substantially limit” major life
activities when active.

Finally, the regulation revisions provide a more straightforward way of
demonstrating a substantial limitation in the major life activity of
working, and implements the ADA Amendment Act’s new standard for determining
whether someone is regarded as having a disability.

The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking containing the regulatory changes is
posted on the EEOC website,
along with a question-and-answer guide about the proposal and instructions for submitting
public comments to the Commission.

You Can Submit Comments by Mail, Fax and Electronically, Here’s How:

Written comments should be submitted to Stephen Llewellyn, Executive
Officer, Executive Secretariat, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 131
M Street, NE., Suite 4NW08R, Room 6NE03F, Washington, DC 20507.

Comments submitted by fax As a convenience to commenters, the Executive
Secretariat will accept comments transmitted by facsimile (“FAX”)
machine. The telephone number of the FAX receiver is (202) 663-4114. (This
is not a toll-free number.) Only comments of six or fewer pages will be
accepted via FAX transmittal to ensure access to the equipment. Receipt of
FAX transmittals will not be acknowledged, except that the sender may request
confirmation of receipt by calling the Executive Secretariat staff at (202)
663-4070 (voice) or (202) 663-4074 (TTY). (These are not toll-free telephone

Comments submitted electronically You may also submit comments and
attachments electronically at, which is the
Federal eRulemaking Portal. Follow the instructions online for submitting
comments. Copies of comments submitted by the public will be available for
review at the Commission’s library, 131 M Street, NE., Suite 4NW08R,
Washington, DC 20507, between the hours of 9:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. or can be
reviewed at

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