For decades, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has provided some basic protections for people experiencing a variety of mental and physical disabilities. In 2008, major amendments were made to the law to broaden protections. These changes were made to protect people in Texas and other states who had been previously excluded from the ADA due to narrow standards. It also strengthens protections for a subset of people that fell under the “regarded as” clause of the law.
The Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA) defines a disability as any mental or physical impairment that limits one’s ability to participate in major life activities. For the purposes of the law, major life activities include eating, sleeping, walking, standing, concentrating, working, and any other activities that are part of ordinary life. Inquiries involving “regarded as” claims were restricted to whether or not an impairment existed and what actions a party took to violate protects for the impairment.
When an employer or other party wants to determine whether or not a person has a disability, they are prohibited from conducting a medical examination according to the ADAAA. The law states that discovering what the appropriate accommodations are for a disabled person should be an interactive process between the employee and employer.
People who believe that their protections under the Americans with Disabilities Act, including enhanced protections passed in 2008, have been violated have the right to seek legal recourse. An attorney might examine the circumstances of a violation and recommend a legal course of action. If filing a complaint with a local or state agency is not successful, a lawyer may recommend a lawsuit. In some cases, an attorney will not require a fee unless they successfully obtain damages for their client.