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As employment law constantly changes, the attorneys at Bean, Kinney & Korman stay up to date on the law as it develops. Our blog topics focus on those changes and what you need to know about them, ranging from severance agreements and the FLSA to social media in the workplace and recent court decisions. If you are interested in having us cover a specific topic, please let us know.

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Posts tagged ADAAA.

Thirty-five years ago, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (“PDA”) established that it is unlawful for employers with fifteen or more employees to discriminate against pregnant workers “because of or on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions.” That remains the basic law of the land today. What has remained unclear, however, is whether Congress, in passing the PDA, meant to compel employers to provide pregnant employees who are not able to work for medical reasons with accommodations, such as a light duty job, to the same extent as similarly situated, non-pregnant employees.

The Supreme Court recently heard oral argument in a case brought by Peggy Young against United Parcel Service (“UPS”) that is expected to provide some guidance as to whether and under what circumstances an employer may be required to accommodate pregnant employees under the PDA. Irrespective of what the court decides, however, covered employers should continue to ask whether such accommodations may still be necessary under recently implemented amendments to the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”).

On March 24, 2014, the final rule published by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) requiring federal contractors and subcontractors to undertake affirmative action for individuals with disabilities will take effect.

The final rule makes changes to the regulations implementing Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which prohibits federal contractors and subcontractors from discriminating in employment against individuals with disabilities (IWDs). It also requires these employers to take affirmative action to recruit, hire, promote, and retain these individuals. In addition, the final rule makes changes to the nondiscrimination provisions of the regulations to bring them into compliance with the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA).

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The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits employers from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities.  The act was amended by the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA) of 2008 with final regulations being issued in March 2011.  A significant change in the ADAAA was an expanded definition of “disability.”

For an impairment to be considered a disability under the pre-amended ADA, it had to prevent or severely restrict a person from performing activities central to most people’s daily lives.  With the enactment of the ADAAA and its subsequent regulations, it is now much easier for an impairment to be considered a disability.  To qualify as a disability, the impairment is only required to substantially limit one major life activity with life activities including reading, concentrating, communicating, working and thinking.

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January 2013 will mark the two-year anniversary the final regulations to the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act or the ADAAA took effect.  As we move into the third year of these new “employee friendly” regulations, it would serve to take a moment to review the prior and current state of the law. 

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) 

In July 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act became law.  The purpose of the ADA is to provide for the elimination of discrimination against individuals with disabilities.  Disputes under the original ADA focused on the definition of disability.  Impairments such as mental illness or mental disability were often disputed with some level of success.  Interpretation centered on whether an individual was disabled rather than the accommodation an employer could provide to assist that individual in performing his or her job.