Removing the stool from a cashier with arthritic knees just cost one pharmacy chain a nice lawsuit by the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC) based on the strengthened and broadened definition of disability under 2009’s Americans With Disabilities Amendments Act (ADAAA).

Prior to ADAAA, the chain could’ve argued that the employee’s arthritis didn’t prevent her from carrying out her major life activities, so she therefore didn’t require a workplace accommodation.

Now, however, the ADAAA not only expands the list of major life activities but defines disability as anything that "substantially limits" any life activity. It also instructs the courts to err on the side of those claiming a disability.

All this means that employers themselves need to err on the side of accepting an employee’s claim of disability.

To help you stay up to date and in compliance with the ADAAA, go to our harassment and discrimination section on the Personnel Concepts Web site and order a copy of our ADA Amendments Act Compliance Kit.