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Revised ADA Regulations on the Horizon

June 18, 2009

In an action termed "historic" by Acting Vice Chair Christine M. Griffin, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) voted on June 17, 2009 to approve revised regulations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The vote was the first of several steps that must be completed in order for the EEOC to successfully implement the revised regulations.

The proposed changes are intended to bring the regulations into accord with statutory amendments to the ADA that became effective in January 2009. Like the recent statutory changes, the regulations are expected to lessen emphasis on whether a plaintiff meets the test of "disability" under the law, an issue that was, in the past, often determinative of ADA cases. Instead, the new regulations are anticipated to increase focus on whether reasonable accommodation is possible, and whether discrimination is occurring in the workplace.

According to EEOC Acting Chairman Stuart J. Ishimaru, the proposed regulations take a significant step toward returning the ADA to the broad and strong civil rights statute that Congress originally intended it to be."

We will update you as further developments arise with respect to these proposed regulations. If you have any questions, please contact Stephanie Setterington or another member of Varnum's Labor and Employment Relations Group.

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