Major Life Activities

As defined under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (www.practicallaw.com/7-501-9331)  (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12101-13 and the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA) (www.practicallaw.com/3-503-0547), includes, but is not limited to:

  • Caring for one's self.

  • Performing manual tasks.

  • Seeing.

  • Hearing.

  • Eating.

  • Sleeping.

  • Walking.

  • Standing.

  • Sitting.

  • Reaching.

  • Lifting.

  • Bending.

  • Breathing.

  • Learning.

  • Reading.

  • Concentrating.

  • Communicating.

  • Interacting with others.

  • Speaking.

  • Thinking.

  • Working.

(42 U.S.C. § 12102(2)(A) and 29 C.F.R. § 1630.2(i)(1)(i).)

The definition of major life activities under the ADA and ADAAA also encompasses operation of a major bodily function, such as:

  • Functions of the immune system.

  • Special sense organs and skin.

  • Normal cell growth.

  • Digestive.

  • Bowel.

  • Bladder.

  • Neurological.

  • Genitourinary.

  • Cardiovascular.

  • Hemic.

  • Lymphatic.

  • Musculoskeletal.

  • Brain.

  • Respiratory.

  • Circulatory.

  • Endocrine.

  • Reproductive functions.

  • Operation of an individual organ within a body system.

(42 U.S.C. § 12102(2)(B) and 29 C.F.R. § 1630.2(i)(1)(ii).)

For a chart comparing the definition of disability before and after the ADAAA regulations, see Checklist, Disability Definition under the ADAAA Final Regulations (www.practicallaw.com/7-505-7931). For more information about providing reasonable accommodation of disabilities in the workplace, see Practice Note, Disability Accommodation under the ADA (www.practicallaw.com/9-503-9007).

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