The Department of Justice announced January 30 that it has opened a public comment period for a proposed rule implementing the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act, which was passed by Congress in 2008.
The 60-day public comment period closes March 31, 2014.
The ADAAA was passed to overturn several Supreme Court cases that dramatically narrowed the definition of disability for the purposes of determining eligibility for the ADA’s protections, specifically for people whose disabilities were sporadic, or mitigated by medications.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission published regulations implementing Title I of the ADA, which deals with employment matters, in 2011. The DOJ’s regulations will implement Title II and Title III, which apply to public entities and public accommodations.
According to a DOJ news release, the regulations will be “consistent with, if not identical to” most of the EEOC’s regulations.
“The narrow interpretation of the ADA’s definition of disability resulted in the denial of the law’s protection for many individuals with impairments such as cancer, diabetes and epilepsy who had been the subject of adverse actions due to their disabilities,” said Jocelyn Samuel, acting assistant attorney general for the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division, in the news release. “The ADAAA and our proposed regulations properly place the focus of ADA cases on whether a covered entity has complied with its obligations and whether discrimination occurred, and not on whether the person has a disability.”
For more information on the proposed rule, click here.