2. ADA Definition of Disability

Hello, I’m Oce Harrison.  Today’s ADA Update is on the definition of disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

There are three parts to the ADA’s definition of disability.

Here’s the first part of the definition:

1.     A person has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activity or major bodily function

What is a major life activity?

Major life activities include, but are not limited to hearing, eating, sleeping, breathing, learning, and reading.

In 2008, the ADA broadened the definition of disability to include “major bodily functions.” An example of a Major bodily functions is the endocrine system (failure of the endocrine system results in diabetes). Another bodily function is normal cell growth (abnormal cell growth can result in cancer).

Part Two of the definition : A person has a history of a physical or mental impairment

For example: A woman had cancer ten years ago and is now cancer free. Or a former drug addict is now rehabilitated.

Third Part of the Definition of Disability

2.     A person is regarded as has a physical or mental impairment

What does regarded as mean? This is best explained by example

Let’s  say an employee has high blood pressure. Her manager finds out about her high blood pressure and reassigns her to a less stressful and lower paying job because he is concerned she will have a heart attack if she continues in her job. Her employer is regarding her as having a disability.

A person has to meet just one part to be considered to have an ADA disability.