"The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 is instrumental in allowing individuals with disabilities to fully participate in our economy and society, and the Administration supports efforts to enhance its protections. The Administration believes that the ADA Amendments Act of 2008, which has just passed Congress, is a step in that direction, and is encouraged by the improvements made to the bill during the legislative process. The President looks forward to signing the ADAAA into law."
To read the final version of the law, click here.
The law will go into effect January 1, 2008. The House of Representatives yesterday passed the version of the bill previously approved by the Senate, which included some employer-friendly revisions designed to reach a compromise. For example, the new version removed a list of "per se" disabilities, and consistent with current law places the burden of proving a disability on the employee. However, the new law will overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Sutton v. United Airlines that mitigating measures must be considered in determining whether an individual is disabled, and the Court’s decision in Toyota v. Williams, which takes a restrictive view of what constitutes a substantial limitation in the major life activity of working.
The ADAAA will make it much more difficult for employers to take the position that an individual is not "substantially limited in a major life activity" and therefore not disabled under the ADA. More requests for accommodation (and more lawsuits) are expected to follow. Watch the Stoel Rives World of Employment for continuing updates as the law goes into effect.