The Department of Justice (DOJ) just issued a final rule amending the ADA — and there’s one aspect of the rule employers will want to pay particular attention to. 

The final rule integrates the broad ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA) definition of “disability” into the ADA.

The rule only affects Title II (nondiscrimination in state and local government services) and Title III (nondiscrimination by public accommodations and commercial facilities) of the ADA, so it doesn’t apply to employment law per se. But it does reveal how the federal government as a whole expects all companies to apply the ADA to customers and employees alike.

In other words, it provides employers with guidance on how they’re expected to comply with the ADA when it comes to employees with disabilities — even though the final rule doesn’t specifically apply to private employers.

Medical condition isn’t as important as the process

In a nutshell, the DOJ says the primary focus for companies/employers must be to make sure individuals aren’t discriminated against because of impairments and that everything is done within reason to accommodate impairments.

The term “disability” should be interpreted very broadly.

What employers shouldn’t do is engage in an extensive analysis of whether an individual’s impairment meets the definition of “disability.”

The goal of the DOJ in issuing the rule is to make sure the ADA is interpreted broadly so coverage is expanded greatly.

The rule also expands the definition of “major life activities” and provides a non-exhaustive list of activities that would be considered major life activities under the ADA.

As you know, a medical condition under the ADA is considered a disability if it substantially limits a major life activity. So, again, the idea is to make the ADA as expansive as possible.

Enter the interactive process

The bottom line for employers: Do your best to accommodate any medical condition that’s affecting an employee’s ability to perform his or her job — that’s what the federal government wants you to do. It wants you to enter the interactive process when work-hindering conditions become apparent.

What it doesn’t want is to see is a hard-fought attempt to prove a medical condition isn’t, in fact, a disability that would require you to enter the interactive process and explore possible accommodations.

Info: The final rule can be found here.

Post Your Resume to 65+ Job Sites
Resume Service

Post to Twitter Tweet This Post