President signs ADA Amendments Act!

I’m afraid that with all the economic upheaval in the news, something important might go largely unnoticed this morning. President Bush just signed the ADA Amendments Act into law! The requirements of the new law will become effective January 1, 2009.

In-between its stories of the bail-out package and questions of whether or not the presidential debate is really going to happen tomorrow night, the Washington Post managed to squeeze in an editorial about this new legislation:

The legislation is the result of two years of remarkable cooperation between business groups and disability rights organizations. The compromise strikes a balance as it guarantees rights for workers with “actual or perceived impairments.” For example, airlines can no longer discriminate against prospective pilots if the applicants employ “mitigating measures,” such as corrective eyewear. At the same time, the bill limits unwarranted claims by requiring that workers prove they have a disability that “would substantially limit a major life activity when active.” The bill will also provide protection, for the first time, to workers with serious ailments such as diabetes, epilepsy and cancer.


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  1. Beth Finke, blog moderator Says:

    One thing I didn’t mention in my post is that former President George H.W. Bush (the current president’s father) was also there yesterday when the bill was signed into law. The original law (the Americans with Disabilities Act) was enacted in 1990, when former President George H.W. Bush was in office. The ADA that was signed back then was meant to ensure that those of us who have disabilities would have access to public buildings and accommodations, giving us better access to the workforce.

    But since the ADA was passed, the Supreme Court has been a little, hmm, I’ll call it “stubborn.” The bill this second President Bush signed yesterday directs the courts to be more generous – the new legislation makes it clear
    that Congress intended the law’s coverage to be broad and to cover anyone facing discrimination because of a disability.
    One of the coolest things about this new legislation is that it took months of difficult negotiations between organizations (like the Autism Society of America and Easter Seals) and the business community to arrive at a compromise…and they did it!