Don’t Let the ADA Restoration Act Fly Below Your Radar

An article in the latest issue of the CCH Workweek publication caught my attention. The article mentioned the “ADA Restoration Act” (H.R. 3195/S.1881). The Restoration Act of 2007 was introduced last July and currently is under consideration in Congress. The House Committee on Education and Labor held hearings on the bill on January 28 and 29, 2008.

The Proposed Changes

The Restoration Act would amend the ADA by deleting the current requirement that, to constitute a disability under the ADA, a physical or mental impairment must “substantially limit” the individual’s ability to perform “one or more major life activities.”

The new definition of disability would be a “physical or mental impairment,” period. And, in addition, the individual’s ability to mitigate the effects of a disability through medication or otherwise would become irrelevant.

All in Favor?

Advocates argue that the revision is necessary because the courts have taken such a narrow view of the ADA that its purpose of preventing and remedying disability discrimination has been virtually destroyed.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the U.S. Department of Justice and the Society for Human Resource Management all oppose the bills, according to the American Association of People with Disabilities website.

The ADA Restoration Act may be flying under the radar due the recent changes to the FMLA but don’t underestimate the impact the proposed law could have.