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Accommodation and Compliance Series: The ADA Amendments Act of 2008

Authors: Linda Carter Batiste, J.D.


This document explains changes made in 2008 to the American’s with Disabilities Act (ADA) and how they will affect both people with disabilities and employers. The changes mostly concern who is considered to have a disability, and how accommodations can be considered “reasonable.” Click on the "Web Links" tab above to either view the entire booklet online (HTML), or download a copy as a PDF. Below is additional information about how this document explains these areas.


The amendments broaden the definition of disability to clearly include all people with conditions that make it difficult to do their jobs without accommodations. From the document:

“So, in the Amendments Act Congress fixed the definition of disability to cover more people and as a result, prevent more discrimination. That means that once the Act went into effect, the question of who has a disability is no longer the main focus; instead, the focus is on whether discrimination occurred.”

The document discusses the areas below:

1.New Definition. Basic Three-Part Definition Will Stay the Same
2.Substantially Limits. Will Not Be As High a Standard
3.Mitigating Measures. Will Not Be Considered.
4.Major Life Activities. Will Be Expanded to Include Bodily Functions
5.Episodic or in Remission. Limitations Will Be Considered As if Active
6.Regarded As. Will Be Very Broad, With No Substantially Limits Requirement


According to the amendments , once an employee has established that s/he has a disability that person is required to receive ANY accommodations necessary to do the job. The purpose is to clarify that a disability label should not define the types of accommodations provided. The amendments also make clear that the employer is entitled some say in deciding what types of accommodations will be provided.

This document provides “practical tips” in the following areas:

1.Review job descriptions, qualification standards, and accommodation procedures.
2.Focus on performance and conduct.
3.Train frontline supervisors and managers.
4.Document actions and decisions

Contact Info:
Organization:JAN (Job Accommodation Network)
Address:PO Box 6080
Morgantown, West Virginia 26506-6080
Phone:(800) 526-7234 (V); (877) 781-9403 (TTY)

Web Links

View the booklet online (HTML)

Download the booklet as a PDF

Visit the home page for the Job Accommodations Network

This information was found at www.qualitymall.org