On January 1, 2009, the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (the “ADAAA”) took effect, bringing with it what many expect to be sweeping reforms to the landscape of federal disability discrimination law. This Act, which was widely lauded by both members of the House of Representatives and the Senate, was signed into law by President Bush on September 25, 2008. Employers who are not fully familiar with the changes the ADAAA brings must quickly learn the nuances of the new law – and the impact it has on the meaning of a “disabled employee” – as it will likely open the flood gates for a new wave of employees seeking reasonable accommodations and the number of discrimination lawsuits. There is good news, however, for employers and attorneys in New Jersey, as these amendments essentially conform the ADA to the “handicap” protections mandated by New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (“LAD”) and interpretative New Jersey Supreme Court decisions.
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This article was originally published in the February 2009 issue of New Jersey Lawyer Magazine, a publication of the New Jersey State Bar Association, and is reprinted here with permission.