The ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (Public Law 110-325, ADAAA) is an Act of Congress, effective January 1, 2009, that amended the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and other disability nondiscrimination laws at the Federal level of the United States. Passed on September 17, 2008, and signed into law by President George W. Bush on September 25, 2008, the ADAAA was a response to a number of decisions by the Supreme Court that had interpreted the original text of the ADA. Because members of the U.S. Congress viewed those decisions as limiting the rights of persons with disabilities, the ADAAA explicitly reversed those decisions. It also rejected portions of the regulations published by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) that interpret Title I (the employment-related title) of the ADA. The ADAAA makes changes to the definition of the term "disability," clarifying and broadening that definition—and therefore the number and types of persons who are protected under the ADA and other Federal disability nondiscrimination laws. It was designed to strike a balance between employer and employee interests.
The ADAAA requires that courts interpreting the ADA and other Federal disability nondiscrimination laws focus on whether the covered entity has discriminated, rather than whether the individual seeking the law's protection has an impairment that fits within the technical definition of the term "disability." 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 the statutory terms should be interpreted.
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