The ADA’s Definition of “Major Life Activities.”

» Articles » Workers' Compensation Articles » Article

December 29, 2015

a. Major life activities are those basic activities that the average person in the general population can perform with little or no difficulty. Major life activities include caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, speaking, breathing, learning, working, sitting, standing, lifting, bending, reaching, thinking, reading, concentrating, and interacting with others. 29 C.F.R. § 1630.2(i).

b. The ADA Amendments Act of 2008 clarified that major life activity includes the operation of major bodily functions, including functions of the immune system. Normal cell growth, digestive bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, and reproductive functions. 42 U.S.C. § 12102.

c. According to the EEOC, employers should first consider whether a person is substantially limited in any major life activity besides working. If a person is impaired in any major life activity other than working, the person meets this aspect of the definition and there is no need to consider whether the person is substantially impaired in his or her ability to work.

d. If a person is not impaired in any major life activity other than working, employers should consider whether the person is substantially restricted in his or her ability to work.

e. Whether a person is substantially restricted in the major life activity of working involves whether the person’s impairment prevents the person from performing job duties in a broad range of jobs. 29 C.F.R. § 1630.2(j)(3) and Appendix. The following factors are relevant:

(1) the geographical area to which the individual has reasonable access;
(2) the job from which the individual has been disqualified because of his or her impairment and the number and types of jobs within that geographical area that utilize similar training, knowledge and abilities from which the individual is also disqualified; and/or
(3) the number and types of other jobs not utilizing similar training, knowledge or abilities within the geographical area from which the individual is also disqualified due to the impairment.
(4) Under the above factors, an individual is not substantially limited in working if he or she is unable to perform a particular job for a particular employer or is unable to pursue a very specialized occupation.

The material appearing in this web site is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice. Transmission of this information is not intended to create, and receipt does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. The information provided herein is intended only as general information which may or may not reflect the most current developments. Although these materials may be prepared by professionals, they should not be used as a substitute for professional services. If legal or other professional advice is required, the services of a professional should be sought.

The opinions or viewpoints expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of Lorman Education Services. All materials and content were prepared by persons and/or entities other than Lorman Education Services, and said other persons and/or entities are solely responsible for their content.

Any links to other web sites are not intended to be referrals or endorsements of these sites. The links provided are maintained by the respective organizations, and they are solely responsible for the content of their own sites.