Employment protection for persons
with serious medical problems

(Top Posts - Social/Legal - 011309)


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I had always assumed it was illegal to discrimin-
ate against persons with serious medical problems,
and had conducted my afffairs on that basis for
many years.

I do suspect, however, that knowledge of my con-
dition might not be well-received by employers,
and might have played a negative roll in decisions
regarding my employment or in failed opportunities
regarding promotions.

I was surprised to learn, today, that the Supreme
Court had actually, in multiple rulings, made it
much more difficult for people with many medical
problems (like the one I have, type 1 diabetes) to
be protected under the law as interpreted by the
Supreme Court.

At the same time as learning this, I found out that
the 'legalized discrimination' aspects of the old
interpretation of the law have been outlawed, and
as such, I'm pleased to pass this information on to
individuals who may be unaware of this recent
improvement in anti-discrimination protection
for individuals with serious medical conditions:

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The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Notice Concerning The Americans With Disabilities
Act (ADA) Amendments Act Of 2008
  http://www.eeoc.gov/ada/amendments_notice.html
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Complete article:

On September 25, 2008, the President signed the Amer-
icans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008
("ADA Amendments Act" or "Act").

The Act makes important changes to the definition of
the term "disability" by rejecting the holdings in several
Supreme Court decisions and portions of EEOC's ADA
regulations.

The Act retains the ADA's basic definition of "disability"
as an impairment that substantially limits one or more
major life activities, a record of such an impairment, or
being regarded as having such an impairment. However,
it changes the way that these statutory terms should be
interpreted in several ways. Most significantly, the Act:

    * directs EEOC to revise that portion of its regulations
defining the term "substantially limits";

    * expands the definition of "major life activities" by
including two non-exhaustive lists:

          o the first list includes many activities that the EEOC
has recognized (e.g., walking) as well as activities that
EEOC has not specifically recognized (e.g., reading, bending,
and communicating);

          o the second list includes major bodily functions (e.g.,
"functions of the immune system, normal cell growth,
digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory,
circulatory, endocrine, and reproductive functions");

    * states that mitigating measures other than "ordinary
eyeglasses or contact lenses" shall not be considered in
assessing whether an individual has a disability;

    * clarifies that an impairment that is episodic or in remis-
sion is a disability if it would substantially limit a major
life activity when active;

    * provides that an individual subjected to an action
prohibited by the ADA (e.g., failure to hire) because
of an actual or perceived impairment will meet the
"regarded as" definition of disability, unless the im-
pairment is transitory and minor;

    * provides that individuals covered only under the
"regarded as" prong are not entitled to reasonable
accommodation; and

    * emphasizes that the definition of "disability" should
be interpreted broadly.

EEOC will be evaluating the impact of these changes
on its enforcement guidances and other publications
addressing the ADA.

Effective Date: The ADA Amendments Act is effective
as of January 1, 2009.

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American Diabetes Association
Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act
  http://tinyurl.com/AmericansDisabilitiesAct2008
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Excerpt:

...

September 25, 2008 signing of the Americans with
Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA).

Because of the ADAAA people with diabetes will no
longer face a Catch 22 in which they can be denied
a job explicitly because of their diabetes – but then
told they don't have the right to fight this discrimination
in court because they take such good care of themselves
that they don't have a "disability" as defined by federal
law.

Under the ADAAA people with diabetes and other
chronic illnesses – people that Congress clearly intended
to cover when it passed the original Americans with Dis-
abilities Act in 1990 – are once again within the law's
umbrella of protection.

...

"This is a historic victory for Americans with chronic ill-
nesses like diabetes who will once again be covered by
this law, and is a triumph for all individuals with disabilities
who want to work and will now be able to fulfill their
potential."

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