Who is Protected by the ADA?
ADA Definition of Disability
The ADA, as amended, prohibits discrimination against qualified individuals with a disability. Specifically, the ADA protects three categories of individuals:
- Individuals who have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activity;
- Individuals who have a record of such an impairment;
- Individuals who are regarded as having an impairment.
Congress intended the ADA definition of disabilty to be construed broadly. The ADA Amendments Act of 2008 was passed to make it much easier for people with a wide range of impairments to establish disability without much analysis.
Who is NOT covered?
The definition of disability does not include simple physical characteristics, common personality traits, or environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantages.
The ADA also excludes coverage for individuals who currently use illegal drugs, certain sexual disorders and preferences, and compulsive gambling, kleptomania, and pyromania.