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The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act in Disability Evaluations

  • Patricia R. Recupero
  • Samara E. Harms
Chapter

Abstract

Mental health professionals may perform disability evaluations for cases involving the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990. The ADA requires an employee to demonstrate substantial limitation in one or more major life activities in order to invoke the ADA’s protection. The ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA) of 2008 significantly expanded the ADA’s coverage, such that more individuals will meet the statutory requirements to be considered “disabled” under the ADA. Clinicians should have a basic understanding of the recently amended ADA so that they can help patients who may need to invoke the ADA’s protection in order to continue working. Forensic experts may also be asked to assist in ADA cases, as expert witnesses or as consultants, before disputes have escalated to litigation. The mental health professional can help to determine how an employee’s psychiatric impairment (if any) affects occupational functioning, whether the employee poses a direct threat in the workplace, and whether any reasonable accommodations may enable the worker to overcome any functional impairments in performing his or her job. With the enactment of the ADAAA in 2008 and the publication of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s final interpretive rules in 2011, demand for assistance from behavioral health professionals in ADA cases will likely increase in the next several years.

Keywords

Americans with Disabilities Act Reasonable accommodations Civil rights Disabled workers Essential job functions 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and Human BehaviorWarren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Butler HospitalProvidenceUSA
  2. 2.Maple Key ConsultingStamfordUSA

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