Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Friendly Reminder: ADAAA Regs Take Effect Today

Today is May 24, 2011... and do you know what that means? Zero points if you cheated and looked at the title first - The ADAAA Final Regulations are effective as of today. A copy of the final regulations is available here. For those with a shorter attention span (or better things to do than read hundreds of pages of regulations...), here's a Fact Sheet prepared by the EEOC.

Still too long? Let's cut to the chase then. The ADAAA broadens the coverage of the ADA to shift the focus away from the determination of whether an individual has a disability. As the regulations make clear:
[T]he "primary object of attention" in cases brought under the ADA should be whether entities covered under the ADA have complied with their obligations. As noted above, this means, for example, examining whether an employer has discriminated against an employee, including whether an employer has fulfilled its obligations with respect to providing a "reasonable accommodation" to an individual with a disability; or whether an employee has met his or her responsibilities under the ADA with respect to engaging in the reasonable accommodation "interactive process."
This marks a shift from the old practice of litigating over whether the individual qualified for protection under the ADA. The new focus is on whether the person was discriminated against, or whether the employer met its obligation to engage in the interactive process to identify reasonable accommodations.

I think the ADAAA made this pretty clear even without the new regs. But, as of today, that purpose is made even clearer.

Posted by Philip Miles, an attorney with McQuaide Blasko in State College, Pennsylvania in the firm's civil litigation and labor and employment law practice groups.