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

09/25/2008 Became Public Law No: 110-325

Bill text available as:

Shown Here:
Enrolled Bill (09/19/2008)


Formatting necessary for an accurate reading of this legislative text may be shown by tags (e.g., <DELETED> or <BOLD>) or may be missing from this TXT display. For complete and accurate display of this text, see the PDF or HTML/XML.




[Congressional Bills 110th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
[S. 3406 Enrolled Bill (ENR)]

        S.3406

                       One Hundred Tenth Congress

                                 of the

                        United States of America


                          AT THE SECOND SESSION

          Begun and held at the City of Washington on Thursday,
            the third day of January, two thousand and eight


                                 An Act


 
To restore the intent and protections of the Americans with Disabilities 
                              Act of 1990.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
    This Act may be cited as the ``ADA Amendments Act of 2008''.
SEC. 2. 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
        (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, 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.
            ``(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. 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 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 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 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) by redesignating section 506 through 514 as sections 507 
    through 515, respectively, and adding after section 505 the 
    following:
    ``SEC. 506. 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) 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).''.
SEC. 8. EFFECTIVE DATE.
    This Act and the amendments made by this Act shall become effective 
on January 1, 2009.

                               Speaker of the House of Representatives.

                            Vice President of the United States and    
                                               President of the Senate.