The ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA) was enacted to broaden the scope of protection intended by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which had been whittled away by U.S. Supreme Court and lower court rulings. Although no courts have yet ruled under the ADAAA, the 9th Circuit (which covers Alaska, Arizona, California, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington) has shed some light on how disabilities will be evaluated under the new law.
The case before the 9th Circuit involved an employee with insulin-dependent type 2 diabetes who was medically restricted from traveling overnight for a project. The company maintained that the ability to travel was an essential job function and gave him three options: 1) find another position; 2) apply for disability benefits; or 3) take early retirement. He chose to apply for disability benefits, and then sued for discrimination under the ADA. The compa...(register to read more)