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EEOCs Proposed Regulations Would Affect Expansion of U.S. Disability Discrimination Law

On September 23, 2009, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (the EEOC or the Commission) opened the notice and comment period for its long-awaited regulations implementing the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (the ADAAA or the Act) and revisions to its Interpretive Guidance. The ADAAA, which took effect on January 1, 2009, delegated rulemaking authority to the EEOC to interpret the term disability, ending the debate as to whether the EEOC originally had been denied this authority in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The EEOCs proposed regulations would radically expand the protections for employees under the ADA and greatly increase the burdens on employers. Indeed, even utilizing the EEOCs conservative estimate, over one million new Americans will meet the definition of disability because of the proposed regulations.

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