A new federal law governing disabilities takes effect with the start of the new year. Congress has amended the Americans with Disabilities Act to clarify—and significantly broaden—the definition of disability. Previously, the law simply stated that someone was disabled if an impairment affected so-called “major life activities.” But those activities have only now been spelled out. Dave Holcombe is a partner in the Cincinnati office of the law firm Baker and Hostetler. He says the new law could offer protection for a wide variety of conditions.
“Dyslexia is another impairment that very well may be considered as now covered by the statute where previously it was not. Stuttering may be within the scope of the statue. And Attention Deficit Disorder may be within the scope of this new language.”
Major life activities now include everything from sleeping to learning to concentrating. The law still states that employers must make reasonable accommodations.