Thursday, June 26, 2008
would make it easier for workers to prove discrimination. It would explicitly relax some stringent standards set by the court and says that disability is to be “construed broadly,” to cover more physical and mental impairments.
Supporters of the proposal said it would restore the broad protections that Congress meant to establish when it passed the Americans With Disabilities Act that President George Bush signed in 1990.
The changes include making clear that a person should be considered disabled even if mitigating measures can help the person function, essentially superseding the Supreme Court's decision in Sutton v. United Airlines
The bill had bipartisan support:
The chief sponsor of the bill, the House Democratic leader, Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, said the situation was now bizarre. “An individual may be considered too disabled by an employer to get a job, but not disabled enough by the courts to be protected by the A.D.A. from discrimination,” Mr. Hoyer said.
The chief Republican sponsor, Representative F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. of Wisconsin, said the Supreme Court had “chipped away at the protections” of the 1990 law, leaving millions of Americans with no recourse or remedy for discrimination.
The Senate, is expected to pass a similar bipartisan bill. "Senator Tom Harkin, the Iowa Democrat leading the effort, predicted that the Senate would act 'in the near future.'"
The White House has sent cryptic messages about whether the President will veto the bill. "[A]lthough President Bush 'supports the overall intent' of the House bill, he was concerned that it 'could unduly expand' coverage and significantly increase litigation."
A veto might be unlikely if, as the NYT reports,
The House bill reflects a deal worked out in months of negotiations by business groups and advocates for the disabled. The United States Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturer helped shape the bill and endorsed it as a balanced compromise.