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Copyright (c) 2009 Journal of Health & Biomedical Law
Journal of Health & Biomedical Law

Note: ADA AMENDMENTS ACT OF 2008: Implications for Employers and Education Institutions


Journal of Health & Biomedical Law

5 J. Health & Biomed. L. 283


Meghan Hayes Slack*


Throughout history, people with disabilities have suffered innumerable indignities and faced challenges in virtually every aspect of their lives. 1 In the early 1900s, people with disabilities were often confined to their homes, care facilities and mental institutions, thereby isolated from the general public. 2 Federal disability initiatives, which began to appear after World War I, allowed individuals with disabilities to make substantial gains socially, politically and medically. 3 Despite this progress, the barriers confronting people with disabilities extend beyond the physical limitations caused by medical conditions. 4 People with disabilities struggle to find quality employment and education opportunities and are therefore the poorest minority in America. 5 Advocates continue to push for legislation that will do more to prevent discrimination against people with disabilities. 6

On September 25, 2008, President Bush signed into law the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA), which was designed to address inconsistencies between case law and the original intentions of Congress when it passed the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). 7 Congress intended the ADA as a broad piece of legislation that would address the challenges in employment and receipt of public services faced by tens of millions of people with physical and mental disabilities. 8 Perhaps most importantly, it provided legal recourse to people who suffered discrimination because of their conditions. 9 However, through a series of cases, the Supreme Court greatly narrowed the scope of the protections afforded by the ADA, and following the Supreme Court's lead, ...
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