US Supreme Court Narrows Definition of 'Disability'

Employers scored a major victory yesterday as the United States Supreme Court limited the definition of "disability" for employees under the American with Disabilities Act.

Under the ruling, a person qualifying as "disabled" must be found to have an impairment that affects his or her daily life, not simply the tasks required in a specific job. The ruling stemmed from a case involving carpel tunnel syndrome, or "repetitive motion" disease in which a factory worker was trying to establish a case of legal disability requiring her employer to make substantial accommodations and qualifying her for coverage under ADA.

Justice Sandra Day O'Connor said the key issue was "whether the claimant is unable to perform the variety of tasks central to most people's daily lives, not whether the claimant is unable to perform the tasks associated with her specific job."

Justice O'Connor added that "household chores, bathing and brushing one's teeth" were the types of activities that need to be considered when determining one's impairment and trying to qualify as disabled under the law.

The Americans With Disabilities Act was adopted in 1990 and has been the central focus of a debate on who qualifies as disabled. The language of the Act was intentionally broad which resulted in protection of those individuals the law was meant to protect as well as sometimes far-fetched definitions of who was disabled under the law.

You may like these other stories...

All that was needed on Tuesday was a voice vote for the House of Representatives to pass a bill that would prevent state and local governments from taxing access to the Internet.Now the ball is in the Senate’s court....
The Republican-controlled House of Representatives passed a bill on Friday morning that would permanently extend the bonus depreciation tax break for businesses.The measure, HR 4718, which was crafted by Representative Pat...
The Republican-led House of Representatives is expected to pass a bill this week that would permanently extend the bonus depreciation tax break. But don’t expect President Obama to sign it.The Obama administration said...

Upcoming CPE Webinars

Jul 23
We can’t deny a great divide exists between the expectations and workplace needs of Baby Boomers and Millennials. To create thriving organizational performance, we need to shift the way in which we groom future leaders.
Jul 24
In this presentation Excel expert David Ringstrom, CPA revisits the Excel feature you should be using, but probably aren't. The Table feature offers the ability to both boost the integrity of your spreadsheets, but reduce maintenance as well.
Jul 31
In this session Excel expert David Ringstrom helps beginners get up to speed in Microsoft Excel. However, even experienced Excel users will learn some new tricks, particularly when David discusses under-utilized aspects of Excel.
Aug 5
This webcast will focus on accounting and disclosure policies for various types of consolidations and business combinations.