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Businesses Fight Broadening of Disability Act

The ADA Restoration Act will change the definition of disability in the ADA so that the law covers the people it was intended to protect.

As of now, 97% of court rulings are decided upon the employers favor because the definition of disability as gotten more narrow. Please help people with disabilities in the work place and support ADA Restoration Act HR 3195 and SB 1881.

Business groups are gearing up for a fight over whether the Americans with Disabilities Act should be expanded.

The 1990 law ensures equal rights in workplaces, transportation and other aspects of daily life for individuals with disabilities.

Disability rights advocates contend legislation is needed to address court decisions that have limited who qualifies as a person with a disability. For example, the Supreme Court has ruled that individuals who have mitigated the effects of their impairments through medication or assistive devices don't qualify for the act's protections.

"These cases have created a bizarre Catch-22 where people with serious conditions like epilepsy or diabetes could be forced to choose between treating their conditions and forfeiting their protections under the ADA, or not treating their conditions and being protected," said Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, sponsor of the ADA Restoration Act. "This is not what Congress intended when we passed this law 17 years ago."

The American Diabetes Associates cites the case of a pharmacist at a Wal-Mart store in Chadron, Neb., who was fired for taking lunch breaks he needed so he could eat to manage his diabetes. The pharmacist filed an ADA claim against Wal-Mart, but courts decided he so effectively managed his diabetes that he was not protected by the ADA.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce opposes the legislation, contending the bill is not "a simple tweak of the ADA, but rather a wholesale rewriting of it."

The ADA's current definition requires individuals to have an impairment that "substantially limits one or more of the major life activities." The legislation would change that definition so that "any individual with an impairment -- such as poor eyesight correctable by wearing glasses -- would be considered disabled and would trigger the employer's duty to accommodate," the chamber wrote to House members.

"By rewriting this definition, virtually all of the entire working population in the United States could be covered by the law," the chamber wrote.

The legislation also "would reverse the long-standing rule that allows employers to determine what the essential functions of a job are, allowing plaintiffs to second-guess routine job decisions that employers must make every day," the chamber wrote.

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