ADA Amendments Act of 2008: The New Litigation Challenge

Updated Strategies to Avoid and Defend Americans With Disabilities Act Claims

New law effective Jan. 1, 2009

Recording of a 90-minute CLE webinar with Q&A

Conducted on Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Course Materials

This seminar will explain the key changes for employers due to the ADA Amendments Act of 2008, outline an employer’s legal obligations when an employee requests an accommodation based on disability, and offer strategies for dealing with disability discrimination claims.


The ADA Amendments Act of 2008 became effective Jan. 1, 2009. The Act creates new challenges for employers defending discrimination claims by broadening the meaning of “disability”. The Act specifically rejects prior U.S. Supreme Court decisions limiting the conditions that qualify as disabilities.

The new Act is likely to spur increased requests by employees for disability-based accommodations and lead to a rise in discrimination claims. ADA violations expose employers to EEOC enforcement actions, private lawsuits, substantial damages and attorneys’ fees.

To minimize liability exposure in a more employee-friendly business environment, counsel for employers should develop effective strategies for responding to accommodation requests and defending against discrimination claims.

Listen as our panel of employment law attorneys reviews the ADA Amendments Act of 2008, outlines an employer’s legal challenges and responsibilities to employees seeking accommodation, and offers strategies for avoiding and defending disability discrimination claims.



  1. Key features of ADA Amendments Act of 2008
    1. Definitions of “disability,” “substantially limits” and “major life activity”
    2. Mitigating measures
    3. “Regarded as” having a disability
  2. Employer obligation to provide “reasonable accommodation”
    1. Employee must initiate request for accommodation
    2. Interactive process between employer and employee
    3. Effective and reasonable accommodation
    4. Penalties
  3. Strategies for avoiding and defending against ADA claims
    1. Develop defined process for employees to request accommodations
    2. Undue hardship
    3. Good faith efforts to accommodate
    4. Effective use of experts
    5. Discovery issues
    6. Other strategies


The panel will review these and other key questions:

  • How does the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 alter the landscape for employers defending discrimination claims?
  • What are employers' responsibilities for providing "reasonable accommodations" to an employee claiming a disability under the new law?
  • What best practices can employers implement to ensure compliance with the new Act?


Joyce Walker-Jones
Joyce Walker-Jones
Senior Atty Advisor, ADA Policy Division
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

She drafts Commission guidance, conducts training, and provides technical assistance to the federal government,...  |  Read More

Gayla Crain
Gayla Crain

Spencer Crain Cubbage Healy & McNamara

She counsels and represents public employers and companies in all aspects of labor and employment law. She has...  |  Read More

Stephen E. Fox
Stephen E. Fox

Fish & Richardson

He focuses on employment litigation and proactive human resources counseling regarding employment discrimination and...  |  Read More

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