References in Text
This chapter, referred to in subsec. (b), was in the original “this Act”, meaning
[Pub. L. 101–336], July 26, 1990, [104 Stat. 327], which is classified principally to this chapter. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Short Title note set out below and Tables.
[Pub. L. 110–325, § 3(1)], amended par. (1) generally. Prior to amendment, par. (1) read as follows: “some 43,000,000 Americans have one or more physical or mental disabilities, and this number is increasing as the population as a whole is growing older;”.
Subsec. (a)(7) to (9).
[Pub. L. 110–325, § 3(2)], (3), redesignated pars. (8) and (9) as (7) and (8), respectively, and struck out former par. (7) which read as follows: “individuals with disabilities are a discrete and insular minority who have been faced with restrictions and limitations, subjected to a history of purposeful unequal treatment, and relegated to a position of political powerlessness in our society, based on characteristics that are beyond the control of such individuals and resulting from stereotypic assumptions not truly indicative of the individual ability of such individuals to participate in, and contribute to, society;”.
Effective Date of 2008 Amendment
[Pub. L. 110–325] effective Jan. 1, 2009, see [section 8 of Pub. L. 110–325], set out as a note under section 705 of Title 29, Labor.
Short Title of 2008 Amendment
[Pub. L. 110–325, § 1], Sept. 25, 2008, [122 Stat. 3553], provided that: “This Act [enacting sections 12103 and 12205a of this title, amending this section, sections 12102, 12111 to 12114, 12201, and 12206 to 12213 of this title, section 705 and former section 706 of Title 29, Labor, and enacting provisions set out as notes under this section and section 705 of Title 29] may be cited as the ‘ADA Amendments Act of 2008’.”
[Pub. L. 101–336, § 1(a)], July 26, 1990, [104 Stat. 327], provided that: “This Act [enacting this chapter and section 225 of Title 47, Telecommunications, amending section 706 of Title 29, Labor, and sections 152, 221, and 611 of Title 47, and enacting provisions set out as notes under sections 12111, 12131, 12141, 12161, and 12181 of this title] may be cited as the ‘Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990’.”
Findings and Purposes of
[Pub. L. 110–325] [Pub. L. 110–325, § 2], Sept. 25, 2008, [122 Stat. 3553], provided that:
Congress finds that—
in enacting the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) [42 U.S.C. 12101
et seq.], 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;
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;
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 [29 U.S.C. 701
et seq.], that expectation has not been fulfilled;
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;
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;
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;
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
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.
The purposes of this Act [see Short Title of 2008 Amendment note above] are—
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;
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;
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;
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’;
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
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.”
Study by General Accounting Office of Existing Disability-Related Employment Incentives
[Pub. L. 106–170, title III, § 303(a)], Dec. 17, 1999, [113 Stat. 1903], provided that, as soon as practicable after Dec. 17, 1999, the Comptroller General was to undertake a study to assess existing tax credits and other disability-related employment incentives under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 12101 et seq.) and other Federal laws, specifically addressing the extent to which such credits and other incentives would encourage employers to hire and retain individuals with disabilities; and that, not later than 3 years after Dec. 17, 1999, the Comptroller General was to transmit to the appropriate congressional committees a written report presenting the results of the study and any appropriate recommendations for legislative or administrative changes.