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LeadingEdition: E-Newsletter for Purdue University Supervisors

The Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act:
5 tips for supervisors

March 25, 2011, brought a number of changes for employers. That’s the day the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) published final regulations implementing the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA).

Congress passed the act to provide further protection of the rights of individuals with disabilities. The ADAAA expanded the definition of “disability,” and created a greater responsibility for employers to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities.

Employers should now focus less on the meaning of disability and more on whether they’re complying with their obligation under the ADAAA and whether discrimination has occurred.  

The act puts emphasis on how the person is treated because of an impairment, rather than on what the employer may have believed about the person’s impairment.

5 tips to help you handle your ADAAA responsibility

1. Ensure you have accurate job descriptions stating the essential functions of each job.

2. Avoid making comments or assumptions about an employee’s medical conditions.

3. Recognize when an employee might be asking for an accommodation, and refer the employee to the appropriate campus resource. For example, if an employee mentions that he or she is having a problem at work, and the problem is related to a medical condition, you should refer the employee.

4. Ask an employee, “How can I help you do your job?” Focus less on telling an employee how to complete a job and more on what needs to be completed. For example, instead of saying that the employee must be able to lift a 50-pound trash container, say that a 50-pound trash container must be emptied. Let the employee determine the way to empty it, with or without reasonable accommodation.

5. Make sure you know your ADA resources at Purdue. For help with any of these tips or other matters related to ADAAA, contact Pat Russell or Marcy Hintzman.

Pat D. Russell, Employee Relations Administrator
Human Resources

Marcy Hintzman, Assistant Director for Compliance and Disability Services
Office of Institutional Equity

- Amy Boyle, Manager
  Housing and Food Services HR

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LeadingEdition is an electronic newsletter for Purdue University supervisors.  It is produced and distributed by Purdue University Human Resources four times annually.  If you have questions, comments or suggestions relating to the newsletter, please call 49-41679 or email us.  Thank you.