Disabilities rights bill on the move

On June 18, the House Judiciary Committee and the House Education and Labor Committee approved a bill that would amend the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The ADA Amendments Act (H.R. 3195) will amend the ADA by clarifying the definition of what constitutes a disability and overturns several U.S. Supreme Court decisions that critics regarded as unfairly limiting ADA protections.

The bill represents a compromise between employer and disability groups and has broad bipartisan support in the House. Since becoming law in 1990, several Supreme Court decisions have reduced the numbers of protected workers under the ADA.

The bill is expected to move to the full House for a vote next week where it will likely pass by a large margin.

In related news, the Bush administration released new ADA rules in the June 17,2008 edition of the Federal Register. The new ADA rules would rewrite federal accessibility standards of the ADA and affect all state and local agencies and millions of businesses open to the public.

The proposals would provide a newer version of the Department of Justice’s ADA Standards for Accessible Design. The DOJ is taking comments on the proposals at until August 18,2008. The DOJ will issue a finalized notice at the end of the comment period.

Until the new standards established in the final notice take effect, the DOJ advises businesses to follow existing ADA standards. Please stay tuned to G.Neil’s HR Forum for updates on the status of all pending ADA legislation.

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