The enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) in 2008 broadened the definition of who is an individual with a “disability” under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) with the intent of extending protection to many more individuals with disabilities.
In one significant change, Congress revised the definition of what it means to be “regarded as” having a disability by removing the requirement that the person had to be perceived by the employer as having a substantial impairment. Instead, Congress simply clarified that impairments that are “transitory and minor” are excluded from “regarded as” protection.
A recent ruling by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals stresses that in order to counter a regarded as claim, the burden is on the employer to show that an impairment must be both transitory and minor. In Eshleman v. Patrick Industries, Inc., No. 19-1403 (3d Cir. May 29, 2020), the Third Circuit reversed a federal trial court ruling in favor of the employer because it did not meet its burden of showing that the perceived impairment was minor.
Members of the Center for Workplace Compliance (CWC) can read more here.