Tuesday, December 29, 2009

COBRA Subsidy Extended

On December 19, 2009, President Obama signed the Fiscal Year 2010 Department of Defenses Appropriates Act . Although a defense appropriation bill, the legislation included provisions that extended and expanded the COBRA subsidy program that was enacted under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Among other things, the bill provides that the COBRA premium subsidy is expanded from nine to fifteen months and extends the eligibility date to February 28, 2010.

Friday, December 11, 2009

What Are the Implications of the enactment of the ADA Amendments Acts?

The ADA Amendments Act of 2008 was promulgated in reaction to a line of Supreme Court cases that had substantially narrowed the class of individuals covered by the the Americans with Disabilities Act. In fact, the findings and purposes found in section 2 of the Act make specific mention of the cases to be abrogated and identify that the Congress intends the reasoning of each of the cases to be rejected and a more liberal reasoning to serve as the basis for all further analysis of whether a person is disabled.

What the amendments and the proposed regulations that have been promulgated since the amendments were adopted suggest is that the question of whether a person has a disability will be much less of an issue in future ADA cases. This is expressly what the amendments contemplate: "it is the intent of Congress that the primary object of attention in cases brought under the ADA should be whether entities covered under the ADA have complied with their obligations, and to convey that the question of whether an individual's impairment is a disability under the ADA should not demand extensive analysis." In fact, the EEOC's proposed rules have incorporated this presumption and have explicitly identified a number of "impairments [that] will consistently meet the definition of disability:" autism, cancer, cerebral palsy, diabetes, epilepsy, HIV or AIDS, multiple sclerosis and muscular dystrophy, major depression, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, and schizophrenia.