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ADA Definition of Disability

The ADA, as amended, prohibits discrimination against qualified individuals with a disability. Specifically, the ADA protects three categories of individuals:

Individuals who have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activity;
Individuals who have a record of such an impairment;
Individuals who are regarded as having impairment.

Congress intended the ADA definition of disability to be construed broadly. The ADA Amendments Act of 2008 was passed to make it much easier for people with a wide range of impairments to establish disability without much analysis.

Who is NOT covered?

The definition of disability does not include simple physical characteristics, common personality traits, or environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantages.

The ADA also excludes coverage for individuals who currently use illegal drugs, certain sexual disorders and preferences, and compulsive gambling, kleptomania, and pyromania.

For possible additional resources, please see our resources page or contact the Rocky Mountain ADA Center through our Technical Assistance Form or call us directly at 800-949-4232.

The Rocky Mountain ADA Center is not an enforcement agency, nor does it provide advocacy services. The information and materials provided by the center are intended solely as informal guidance and are not a determination of your legal rights or responsibilities. All communication with the center is strictly confidential.

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