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ADA Amendments Act of 2008

The ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA) became effective on January 1, 2009. The Act makes important changes to the definition of the term “disability” by rejecting several Supreme Court decisions and portions of the EEOC’s ADA regulations. The Amendments Act expands the protections of the original ADA to include more individuals with less severe impairments.
The Act retains the ADA’s basic definition of a disability as
  • having a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities;
  • having a record of such an impairment; or
  • being regarded as having such impairment.
However, the ADAAA has expanded the definition of “major life activities” to include
  • Caring for oneself
  • Walking
  • Learning 
  • Concentrating 
  • Communicating 
  • Lifting 
  • Sleeping
  • The operation of a major bodily function
  • Performing manual
  • Tasks 
  • Breathing
  • Standing
  • Reading
  • Thinking
  • Working
  • Eating
  • Speaking 
  • Seeing
  • Walking
  • Hearing
  • Bending 
  • Eating
    The ADAAA also adds a new major life activity category – “major bodily functions” – which includes, but is not limited to
  • functions of the immune system
  • cell growth
  • digestive, bladder, and bowel functions
  • respiratory and circulatory functions