Recent Amendments Significantly Expand the Scope of the ADA

The Americans with Disabilities Act (or the “ADA”) provides for the accommodation, protection and equal treatment of individuals with disabilities. In recent years, many litigants and commentators have urged that the federal courts have construed the scope of the ADA so narrowly as to leave people with legitimate disabilities unprotected by the law. In response to these protests, amendments to the ADA were enacted through the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (the “ADAAA”), which became effective January 1, 2009. These amendments broaden the ADA’s definition of “disability” and seek to provide guidance for more consistent application of its requirements. As an employer, it is vitally important to understand these changes, as many more people may now be deemed disabled and, therefore, be protected by the ADA.

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