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Press Release

Justice Department Revises Regulations to Implement Requirements of ADA Amendments Act of 2008

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

A final rule revising the Justice Department’s Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Title II and Title III regulations to implement the requirements of the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA) was made available for public inspection by the Federal Register today.  The final rule will be published in the Federal Register tomorrow and will take effect 60 days after publication, which will be Oct. 11, 2016.

Congress passed the ADAAA in response to several Supreme Court decisions that narrowly interpreted the ADA’s definition of disability, leading ultimately to the exclusion from coverage of individuals with cancer, diabetes, epilepsy, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, learning disabilities and other disabilities.  The ADAAA made a number of significant changes to the meaning and interpretation of the ADA definition of disability to ensure that the term would be broadly construed and applied without extensive analysis so that all individuals with disabilities could receive the law’s protections.

Although the ADAAA is already in effect and applies to entities covered under Title II and III of the ADA, the department’s changes to its Title II and III regulations will help clarify the interpretation and application of the ADAAA.  These changes also satisfy the Attorney General’s responsibility to publish regulations that are consistent with any congressional changes to the ADA.  

“This final rule clarifies Congress’s original mandate that eliminating discrimination against people with disabilities requires an expansive definition of what disability means and who the law covers,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.  “The Justice Department’s regulation sets forth clear new rules, new examples and detailed guidance to ensure that courts, covered entities and people with disabilities better understand the ADAAA.”   

The ADAAA’s provisions addressing the definition of disability also apply to Title I of the ADA, for which the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued regulations in 2011.  The publication of the Title II and Title III rule tomorrow will ensure that the definition of disability is interpreted consistently for these three titles of the ADA.

For more information about the ADAAA, please visit the department’s ADA website or call the ADA Information Line (1-800-514-0301, 1-800-514-3083, TTY).  A copy of the preview of the final rule posted by the Federal Register on its public inspection desk can be found today at:  Once the final rule is published in the Federal Register tomorrow, a copy will be available on the department’s ADA website.

Updated August 11, 2016

Civil Rights
Press Release Number: 16-930