Text: S.3406 — 110th Congress (2007-2008)All Bill Information (Except Text)

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Public Law No: 110-325 (09/25/2008)




[110th Congress Public Law 325]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]


[DOCID: f:publ325.110]

[[Page 122 STAT. 3553]]

Public Law 110-325
110th Congress

                                 An Act


 
To restore the intent and protections of the Americans with Disabilities 
           Act of 1990. <<NOTE: Sept. 25, 2008 -  [S. 3406]>> 

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress <<NOTE: ADA Amendments Act of 
2008. 42 USC 12101 note.>> assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``ADA Amendments Act of 2008''.
SEC. 2. <<NOTE: 42 USC 12101 note.>>  FINDINGS AND PURPOSES.

    (a) Findings.--Congress finds that--
            (1) in enacting the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 
        (ADA), Congress intended that the Act ``provide a clear and 
        comprehensive national mandate for the elimination of 
        discrimination against individuals with disabilities'' and 
        provide broad coverage;
            (2) in enacting the ADA, Congress recognized that physical 
        and mental disabilities in no way diminish a person's right to 
        fully participate in all aspects of society, but that people 
        with physical or mental disabilities are frequently precluded 
        from doing so because of prejudice, antiquated attitudes, or the 
        failure to remove societal and institutional barriers;
            (3) while Congress expected that the definition of 
        disability under the ADA would be interpreted consistently with 
        how courts had applied the definition of a handicapped 
        individual under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, that 
        expectation has not been fulfilled;
            (4) the holdings of the Supreme Court in Sutton v. United 
        Air Lines, Inc., 527 U.S. 471 (1999) and its companion cases 
        have narrowed the broad scope of protection intended to be 
        afforded by the ADA, thus eliminating protection for many 
        individuals whom Congress intended to protect;
            (5) the holding of the Supreme Court in Toyota Motor 
        Manufacturing, Kentucky, Inc. v. Williams, 534 U.S. 184 (2002) 
        further narrowed the broad scope of protection intended to be 
        afforded by the ADA;
            (6) as a result of these Supreme Court cases, lower courts 
        have incorrectly found in individual cases that people with a 
        range of substantially limiting impairments are not people with 
        disabilities;
            (7) in particular, the Supreme Court, in the case of Toyota 
        Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky, Inc. v. Williams, 534 U.S. 184 
        (2002), interpreted the term ``substantially limits'' to require 
        a greater degree of limitation than was intended by Congress; 
        and

[[Page 122 STAT. 3554]]

            (8) Congress finds that the current Equal Employment 
        Opportunity Commission ADA regulations defining the term 
        ``substantially limits'' as ``significantly restricted'' are 
        inconsistent with congressional intent, by expressing too high a 
        standard.

    (b) Purposes.--The purposes of this Act are--
            (1) to carry out the ADA's objectives of providing ``a clear 
        and comprehensive national mandate for the elimination of 
        discrimination'' and ``clear, strong, consistent, enforceable 
        standards addressing discrimination'' by reinstating a broad 
        scope of protection to be available under the ADA;
            (2) to reject the requirement enunciated by the Supreme 
        Court in Sutton v. United Air Lines, Inc., 527 U.S. 471 (1999) 
        and its companion cases that whether an impairment substantially 
        limits a major life activity is to be determined with reference 
        to the ameliorative effects of mitigating measures;
            (3) to reject the Supreme Court's reasoning in Sutton v. 
        United Air Lines, Inc., 527 U.S. 471 (1999) with regard to 
        coverage under the third prong of the definition of disability 
        and to reinstate the reasoning of the Supreme Court in School 
        Board of Nassau County v. Arline, 480 U.S. 273 (1987) which set 
        forth a broad view of the third prong of the definition of 
        handicap under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973;
            (4) to reject the standards enunciated by the Supreme Court 
        in Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky, Inc. v. Williams, 534 
        U.S. 184 (2002), that the terms ``substantially'' and ``major'' 
        in the definition of disability under the ADA ``need to be 
        interpreted strictly to create a demanding standard for 
        qualifying as disabled,'' and that to be substantially limited 
        in performing a major life activity under the ADA ``an 
        individual must have an impairment that prevents or severely 
        restricts the individual from doing activities that are of 
        central importance to most people's daily lives'';
            (5) to convey congressional intent that the standard created 
        by the Supreme Court in the case of Toyota Motor Manufacturing, 
        Kentucky, Inc. v. Williams, 534 U.S. 184 (2002) for 
        ``substantially limits'', and applied by lower courts in 
        numerous decisions, has created an inappropriately high level of 
        limitation necessary to obtain coverage under the ADA, to convey 
        that it is the intent of Congress that the primary object of 
        attention in cases brought under the ADA should be whether 
        entities covered under the ADA have complied with their 
        obligations, and to convey that the question of whether an 
        individual's impairment is a disability under the ADA should not 
        demand extensive analysis; and
            (6) to express Congress' expectation that the Equal 
        Employment Opportunity Commission will revise that portion of 
        its current regulations that defines the term ``substantially 
        limits'' as ``significantly restricted'' to be consistent with 
        this Act, including the amendments made by this Act.
SEC. 3. CODIFIED FINDINGS.

    Section 2(a) of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 
U.S.C. 12101) is amended--
            (1) by amending paragraph (1) to read as follows:
            ``(1) physical or mental disabilities in no way diminish a 
        person's right to fully participate in all aspects of society,

[[Page 122 STAT. 3555]]

        yet many people with physical or mental disabilities have been 
        precluded from doing so because of discrimination; others who 
        have a record of a disability or are regarded as having a 
        disability also have been subjected to discrimination;'';
            (2) by striking paragraph (7); and
            (3) by redesignating paragraphs (8) and (9) as paragraphs 
        (7) and (8), respectively.
SEC. 4. DISABILITY DEFINED AND RULES OF CONSTRUCTION.

    (a) Definition of Disability.--Section 3 of the Americans with 
Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 12102) is amended to read as 
follows:
``SEC. 3. DEFINITION OF DISABILITY.

    ``As used in this Act:
            ``(1) Disability.--The term `disability' means, with respect 
        to an individual--
                    ``(A) a physical or mental impairment that 
                substantially limits one or more major life activities 
                of such individual;
                    ``(B) a record of such an impairment; or
                    ``(C) being regarded as having such an impairment 
                (as described in paragraph (3)).
            ``(2) Major life activities.--
                    ``(A) In general.--For purposes of paragraph (1), 
                major life activities include, but are not limited to, 
                caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, 
                hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, 
                bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, 
                concentrating, thinking, communicating, and working.
                    ``(B) Major bodily functions.--For purposes of 
                paragraph (1), a major life activity also includes the 
                operation of a major bodily function, including but not 
                limited to, functions of the immune system, normal cell 
                growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, 
                respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, and reproductive 
                functions.
            ``(3) Regarded as having such an impairment.--For purposes 
        of paragraph (1)(C):
                    ``(A) An individual meets the requirement of `being 
                regarded as having such an impairment' if the individual 
                establishes that he or she has been subjected to an 
                action prohibited under this Act because of an actual or 
                perceived physical or mental impairment whether or not 
                the impairment limits or is perceived to limit a major 
                life activity.
                    ``(B) Paragraph (1)(C) shall not apply to 
                impairments that are transitory and minor. A transitory 
                impairment is an impairment with an actual or expected 
                duration of 6 months or less.
            ``(4) Rules of construction regarding the definition of 
        disability.--The definition of `disability' in paragraph (1) 
        shall be construed in accordance with the following:
                    ``(A) The definition of disability in this Act shall 
                be construed in favor of broad coverage of individuals 
                under this Act, to the maximum extent permitted by the 
                terms of this Act.
                    ``(B) The term `substantially limits' shall be 
                interpreted consistently with the findings and purposes 
                of the ADA Amendments Act of 2008.

[[Page 122 STAT. 3556]]

                    ``(C) An impairment that substantially limits one 
                major life activity need not limit other major life 
                activities in order to be considered a disability.
                    ``(D) An impairment that is episodic or in remission 
                is a disability if it would substantially limit a major 
                life activity when active.
                    ``(E)(i) The determination of whether an impairment 
                substantially limits a major life activity shall be made 
                without regard to the ameliorative effects of mitigating 
                measures such as--
                          ``(I) medication, medical supplies, equipment, 
                      or appliances, low-vision devices (which do not 
                      include ordinary eyeglasses or contact lenses), 
                      prosthetics including limbs and devices, hearing 
                      aids and cochlear implants or other implantable 
                      hearing devices, mobility devices, or oxygen 
                      therapy equipment and supplies;
                          ``(II) use of assistive technology;
                          ``(III) reasonable accommodations or auxiliary 
                      aids or services; or
                          ``(IV) learned behavioral or adaptive 
                      neurological modifications.
                    ``(ii) The ameliorative effects of the mitigating 
                measures of ordinary eyeglasses or contact lenses shall 
                be considered in determining whether an impairment 
                substantially limits a major life activity.
                    ``(iii) As used in this subparagraph--
                          ``(I) the term `ordinary eyeglasses or contact 
                      lenses' means lenses that are intended to fully 
                      correct visual acuity or eliminate refractive 
                      error; and
                          ``(II) the term `low-vision devices' means 
                      devices that magnify, enhance, or otherwise 
                      augment a visual image.''.

    (b) Conforming Amendment.--The Americans with Disabilities Act of 
1990 (42 U.S.C. 12101 et seq.) is further amended by adding after 
section 3 the following:
``SEC. <<NOTE: 42 USC 12103.>>  4. ADDITIONAL DEFINITIONS.

    ``As used in this Act:
            ``(1) Auxiliary aids and services.--The term `auxiliary aids 
        and services' includes--
                    ``(A) qualified interpreters or other effective 
                methods of making aurally delivered materials available 
                to individuals with hearing impairments;
                    ``(B) qualified readers, taped texts, or other 
                effective methods of making visually delivered materials 
                available to individuals with visual impairments;
                    ``(C) acquisition or modification of equipment or 
                devices; and
                    ``(D) other similar services and actions.
            ``(2) State.--The term `State' means each of the several 
        States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto 
        Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the Virgin Islands of the United 
        States, the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, and the 
        Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.''.

    (c) Amendment to the Table of Contents.--The table of contents 
contained in section 1(b) of the Americans with Disabilities

[[Page 122 STAT. 3557]]

Act of 1990 is amended by striking the item relating to section 3 and 
inserting the following items:

``Sec. 3. Definition of disability.
``Sec. 4. Additional definitions.''.

SEC. 5. DISCRIMINATION ON THE BASIS OF DISABILITY.

    (a) On the Basis of Disability.--Section 102 of the Americans with 
Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 12112) is amended--
            (1) in subsection (a), by striking ``with a disability 
        because of the disability of such individual'' and inserting 
        ``on the basis of disability''; and
            (2) in subsection (b) in the matter preceding paragraph (1), 
        by striking ``discriminate'' and inserting ``discriminate 
        against a qualified individual on the basis of disability''.

    (b) Qualification Standards and Tests Related to Uncorrected 
Vision.--Section 103 of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 
U.S.C. 12113) is amended by redesignating subsections (c) and (d) as 
subsections (d) and (e), respectively, and inserting after subsection 
(b) the following new subsection:
    ``(c) Qualification Standards and Tests Related to Uncorrected 
Vision.--Notwithstanding section 3(4)(E)(ii), a covered entity shall not 
use qualification standards, employment tests, or other selection 
criteria based on an individual's uncorrected vision unless the 
standard, test, or other selection criteria, as used by the covered 
entity, is shown to be job-related for the position in question and 
consistent with business necessity.''.
    (c) Conforming Amendments.--
            (1) Section 101(8) of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 
        1990 (42 U.S.C. 12111(8)) is amended--
                    (A) in the paragraph heading, by striking ``with a 
                disability''; and
                    (B) by striking ``with a disability'' after 
                ``individual'' both places it appears.
            (2) Section 104(a) of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 
        1990 (42 U.S.C. 12114(a)) is amended by striking ``the term 
        `qualified individual with a disability' shall'' and inserting 
        ``a qualified individual with a disability shall''.
SEC. 6. RULES OF CONSTRUCTION.

    (a) Title V of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 
U.S.C. 12201 et seq.) is amended--
            (1) by adding at the end of section 501 <<NOTE: 42 USC 
        12201.>>  the following:

    ``(e) Benefits Under State Worker's Compensation Laws.--Nothing in 
this Act alters the standards for determining eligibility for benefits 
under State worker's compensation laws or under State and Federal 
disability benefit programs.
    ``(f) Fundamental Alteration.--Nothing in this Act alters the 
provision of section 302(b)(2)(A)(ii), specifying that reasonable 
modifications in policies, practices, or procedures shall be required, 
unless an entity can demonstrate that making such modifications in 
policies, practices, or procedures, including academic requirements in 
postsecondary education, would fundamentally alter the nature of the 
goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations 
involved.
    ``(g) Claims of No Disability.--Nothing in this Act shall provide 
the basis for a claim by an individual without a disability

[[Page 122 STAT. 3558]]

that the individual was subject to discrimination because of the 
individual's lack of disability.
    ``(h) Reasonable Accommodations and Modifications.--A covered entity 
under title I, a public entity under title II, and any person who owns, 
leases (or leases to), or operates a place of public accommodation under 
title III, need not provide a reasonable accommodation or a reasonable 
modification to policies, practices, or procedures to an individual who 
meets the definition of disability in section 3(1) solely under 
subparagraph (C) of such section.'';
            (2) <<NOTE: 42 USC 12206-12211; 29 USC 706; 42 USC 12212, 
        12213.>>  by redesignating section 506 through 514 as sections 
        507 through 515, respectively, and adding after section 505 the 
        following:
``SEC. 506. <<NOTE: 42 USC 12205a.>>  RULE OF CONSTRUCTION 
                        REGARDING REGULATORY AUTHORITY.

    ``The authority to issue regulations granted to the Equal Employment 
Opportunity Commission, the Attorney General, and the Secretary of 
Transportation under this Act includes the authority to issue 
regulations implementing the definitions of disability in section 3 
(including rules of construction) and the definitions in section 4, 
consistent with the ADA Amendments Act of 2008.''; and
            (3) <<NOTE: 42 USC 12210.>>  in section 511 (as redesignated 
        by paragraph (2)) (42 U.S.C. 12211), in subsection (c), by 
        striking ``511(b)(3)'' and inserting ``512(b)(3)''.

    (b) The table of contents contained in section 1(b) of the Americans 
with Disabilities Act of 1990 is amended by redesignating the items 
relating to sections 506 through 514 as the items relating to sections 
507 through 515, respectively, and by inserting after the item relating 
to section 505 the following new item:

``Sec. 506. Rule of construction regarding regulatory authority.''.

SEC. 7. CONFORMING AMENDMENTS.

    Section 7 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. 705) is 
amended--
            (1) in paragraph (9)(B), by striking ``a physical'' and all 
        that follows through ``major life activities'', and inserting 
        ``the meaning given it in section 3 of the Americans with 
        Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 12102)''; and
            (2) in paragraph (20)(B), by striking ``any person who'' and 
        all that follows through the period at the end, and inserting 
        ``any person who has a disability as defined in section 3 of the 
        Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 12102).''.

[[Page 122 STAT. 3559]]

SEC. 8. <<NOTE: 29 USC 705 note.>>  EFFECTIVE DATE.

    This Act and the amendments made by this Act shall become effective 
on January 1, 2009.

    Approved September 25, 2008.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY--S. 3406:
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CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, Vol. 154 (2008):
            Sept. 11, considered and passed Senate.
            Sept. 17, considered and passed House.

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