An Eastern District of Texas recently addressed the effect of the ADA amendments Act. In Norton v. Assisted Living Concepts, Inc., an employee suffered from cancer. He returned to work and was fired within a month of his return. The cancer was in remission. Under the old Americans with Disabilities Act, he would have to show that he had a disability. To show he had a disability, he would have to establish that the cancer while in remission affected a daily function of living. This is known as a "major life activity." Showing that an illness affects a major life activity while in remission would be a high burden for the plaintiff.
The employer moved for partial summary judgment arguing the employee did not have a disability. The court rejected that argument. The judge found that cell growth was affected and under the ADAA, that was enough to show a disability. The court expanded the former "major life activity" to include "major bodily functions." The court ruled that "substantially limits" a major life activity should be interpreted as broadly as possible.
The court not only rejected the employer’s motion, but it granted partial summary judgment to the plaintiff on this issue under the new Fed.R.Civ.Pro. Rule 56(f)(1).
This ruling brings the ADAA comes more closely to the original intent of the ADA. This decision is reported at: 2011 WL 1832952 (E.D.Tex. 5/13/2011).