July 26 marked the 25th anniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) — landmark legislation that created rights for individuals with physical and mental disabilities in employment, government facilities and services, places of public accommodations, telecommunications, and transportation.
In recent years, employers have seen a significant increase in discrimination litigation under the ADA and its state law counterpart, M.G.L. c. 151B. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency responsible for the enforcement of the ADA’s employment provisions, over the past 10 years there has been a fast and steady increase in the number of charges filed with the EEOC premised on disability discrimination, from about 19% of all charges in 2004 to almost 29% by 2014. This increase is particularly noticeable since the 2008 amendments to the ADA went into effect, which significantly expanded the medical conditions that qualify as disability for purposes of the act.
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