Good day, ladies and gentlemen and welcome to the ADA Amendments Act Proposed Rules - Q&A with EEOC conference call. At this time all participants are in a listen only mode. Later we will have a question and answer session and instructions will follow at that time. If anyone should require assistance during the conference, please press star and zero on your touchtone telephone. I would now like to turn the conference over to your host for today, Ms. Robin Jones. Ma''am, you may begin.
Thank you, and welcome everyone. For some of you it is the morning and others it is already the afternoon, but we are happy to have you join us. Today is the first session in our new 12-month series. This program is being brought to you by the National Network of ADA Centers hosted by the Great Lakes ADA Center. The ADA Audio Conference Series offers a monthly session on a variety of different topics related to the ADA. And we are please today to have an opportunity, which is a very timely opportunity, to have representation from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to talk to us about the proposed regulations for the ADA Amendments Act of 2008. Before I introduce our speaker Sharon Rennert, let me just remind you that this session is being accessed by people using the telephone, some people are using streaming audio on the internet, and others are using real-time captioning. The session is being recorded and a transcript will be created, and all of the materials, the recording, and the transcript will be posted on the website, www.ada-audio.org within ten business days following this session. All of our sessions are archived on the website from past years as well, so if you are looking for various topics or issues or you missed one of our sessions, feel free to go there. Our full 12-month session calendar is posted on the website and we also invite you to peruse that for future sessions that might be of interest to you. So in interest of trying to get as much opportunity in today for our program, I am going to go ahead and do a brief introduction of our speaker. I refer you to her full bio which is on the website under our speaker section if you would like more information about her. We are pleased to have back with us as Sharon Rennert has been a speaker on the ADA Audio Conference Series many times. Sharon is a Senior Attorney Advisor with the Americans with Disabilities Act Division within the Office of Legal Counsel at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. She is a senior member of the Division having joined them in 1992 shortly after the ADA was passed. And since 2003, during 2003 she actually served as the Acting Director of the Division. She is responsible for the development or at least coordinating development of the Commissions policy interpretations of the ADA, and has worked on every ADA policy guidance issued by the Commission. She has also worked on many of the Commissions ADA technical assistance documents including fact sheets on Telework as a Reasonable Accommodation and the ADA''s Application to Jobseekers. She is also a key drafter of the Guidance for Reasonable Accommodation, and offers particular critique on the center requirement of the ADA. Again, Sharon has many years of expertise in this area, as a speaker throughout the country I think, Sharon, you probably can count how many states you haven''t been to versus that you have been to. And she has extensive experience providing technical assistance and helping people really understand what these regulations mean. So I am going to turn it over to Sharon and for her remarks. Just to let you know, we are going to break up this session into three parts today, so there will be three opportunities to ask questions which will hopefully allow us to have people stay a little bit more focused on the specific topics that we are talking about. So go ahead, Sharon.
Thank you very much, Robin. And good morning or good afternoon to everybody I trust is listening out there, so this is not just a conversation between Robin and myself. I appreciate the opportunity to review with all of you the Proposed ADA Amendment Regulations that the EEOC published last month. I understand that all of you have a link to those proposed regulations. The other thing that you have is a question and answer document that the EEOC published simultaneously when we published the proposed rule. The Q&A document is meant to be kind of a cheat sheet if you will, it does review every proposed change in the regulations put out by EEOC trying to put it in a little more straightforward format than the regulatory format. So you definitely have that, so for those of you who don''t want to get writer''s cramp taking a lot of notes this afternoon, a lot of what I say will be in or somewhat addressed in the Q&A document. This is the public comment period part of the process, that is the reason we propose these regulations rather than just coming out with a final rule because this is the opportunity you now have to give input to the EEOC. And if you click on the link to the proposed regulation, there is information on how to submit comments to EEOC. The comment period will end on November 23rd, so if you are interested or intending to send comments, that is your deadline, November 23rd. In addition, the Commission just announced that it was going to hold four town hall meetings, EEOC along with the Department of Justice, four town hall meetings have been scheduled across the county. You also have information on that if you are listening in this afternoon or this morning. The first of these sessions is scheduled for next Monday in Oakland October 26th, followed by October 30th in Philadelphia, November 17th in Chicago, and November 20th New Orleans. You are invited to attend and you are invited to register to make five-minute statements at those town hall meetings. All of the EEOC Commissioners will be attending each of the four sessions. These are an opportunity to provide comments to the EEOC. We will not be taking questions at those town hall meetings, they are being advertised as listening sessions. Everything said at the meetings will become part of the public record, EEOC will be considering all the comments that come in. If you want to sign up to speak, again go to the link and you can find out how to register in advance. There will be a certain number of slots that can be used on the day, if you don''t want to register in advance you can take the chance and see if you can sign up when you show up at one of the meetings. Okay, but what are you going to comment on if you want to give comments, or what is it EEOC is proposing, and that is the purpose of this afternoon''s session. And I want to kind of walk us through, make sure people understand what EEOC is proposing. I want to point out where EEOC is simply picking up language from the statute, certain things that Congress put into the statute, EEOC just picked it straight up. We have no power to change it. If Congress was clear on certain things, then that is now part of the law. But where EEOC is going beyond the statute, where we have perhaps added something or clarified a certain point, then I will try to point that out to you, because that certainly those are areas where you are welcome to provide comments, to maybe you will agree with us, maybe you will disagree, maybe you want further clarification on certain things, maybe you think there are things EEOC left out and we should put in. But I want to at least draw your attention to where it is something that EEOC is proposing beyond what you would find in the statute. So with those opening remarks, let''s dive in here. I think by now most people who have followed this at all understand that the ADA Amendments Act, 95 percent of it focused on the definition of disability, used in both the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act. If we have people listening in who work for federal agencies, all of these changes will apply to you under the Rehabilitation Act as well. So the definition of disability was the main focus of this new statute, and the purpose very clearly set out by Congress, and as you will see, EEOC has taken it to heart, is that they wanted the definition of disability to be broader. Congress was a bit dismayed to watch over the past 10, 12, 14 years as the definition of disability seemed to be interpreted more and more narrowly and making it more and more difficult for people with many different kinds of conditions to prove they actually had a disability covered by either the ADA or the Rehabilitation Act. So most of what we are going to talk about this afternoon, most of what is in the proposed regulation, go to these changes to broaden the definition of disability. The ADA Amendments Act went into effect on January 1st of this year. In the Q&A document that I hope people have had a chance to printout or download or looked at, EEOC notes that the Amendments Act in the EEOC''s view, it is not retroactive, meaning that it went into effect on January 1st of this year. If there was an alleged discrimination, alleged discriminatory event that occurred in 2008, then the ADA Amendments Act would not apply to it. If somebody was denied a job in 2008, if somebody was denied a reasonable accommodation in 2008, those are events that happened before January 1st of this year. So in looking at those kinds of events, we would not be applying the ADA Amendments Act, they are only going to be applied to alleged acts of discrimination that occurred either on January 1st or thereafter. So you can see that in the Q&A. In terms of the definition of disability, Congress decided to pretty much keep the three-part definition, remember we have three different definitions of disability, and keep at least for the first two definitions of disability, at least the same basic language; a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity, or a record of a physical or mental impairment that substantially limited a major life activity some time in the past. The regarded as definition while Congress kind of kept the same words, they basically have created a whole new definition. In essence, it is a whole new definition, and when we get to that part of the discussion you will see it really now has a completely different approach than the one people have gotten used to. So I want to start our focus on the first definition, a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity. Congress did not change anything about the meaning of a physical or mental impairment, there was really no need to, those have always been broad terms. I mean, even the common cold is a type of impairment, so there was really no need to kind of make changes there. So the first set of changes we find have to do with the term major life activities. Now if you are following along, in the Q&A document, one thing you will notice is that many of the answers in this document, we give the citation to the proposed regulation, so you can go back and forth if you want to see what it looks like in the proposed regulation. But for major life activities, what we start with in the proposed regulation is a definition that these are basic activities that most people in the general population can perform with little or no difficulty. Now Congress in the statute gave a non-exhaustive list of examples of what it meant by major life activities. EEOC has taken that entire list from the statute and we are putting it in our proposed regulations, there is really not much anybody can do about that, that is pretty clear what Congress had in mind, the examples they listed. And so most of these are ones that again if you have been dealing with this law for a long time, should not come as any surprise, things like walking, standing, eating, sleeping, thinking, concentrating, learning. Now because it is a non-exhaustive list, Congress clearly left open the door for EEOC or down the road courts or others to add more examples, well EEOC in the proposed rule is adding three activities to the list, those are sitting, reaching, and interacting with others. So those three, sitting, reaching, interacting with others, you don''t find it in the ADA Amendments Act, but we believe it is appropriate in the proposed regulation to add those three. Interacting with others is currently in the EEOC regulations, it has been around since 1991, so we thought there is no reason to exclude it now. Sitting and reaching are ones that have come up in other contexts, and so we felt those were appropriate to add. So those are three that you don''t find in the statute but we are proposing to put them in the regulations. The second major change to this concept of major life activities, Congress decided to add a new category of major life activities, and they called it major bodily functions. Again, Congress provided a non-exhaustive list of examples. The EEOC''s proposed regulation picks up that entire list, we are going to put it into the proposed regulation. But again, we took to heart this was a non-exhaustive list and we thought several more should be added. And the ones that we are proposing to add on top of what you find in the statute, the hemic system, lymphatic, musculoskeletal, special sense organs and skin, genitourinary, and cardiovascular. And again a reminder, these are all in that Q&A document, and then again highlighting what it is that EEOC is proposing that is in addition to what is in the statute. Now the idea behind major bodily function, again Congress was looking for ways to make it broader, the definition of disability, to make it easier for people with certain kinds of impairments to show that they have a disability. And for some kinds of impairments, what Congress saw over the past ten years or so, is that what I now refer to as that traditional list of major life activities, walking, standing, thinking, concentrating, et cetera, didn''t really seem to fit. It became quite difficult at times to find that somebody with often a very serious impairment, that they, how did you find they were substantially limited in one of those kinds of major life activities. For example, people sometimes with cancer that would be diagnosed very quickly treated, people who may have missed work but only on a limited basis. When you sort of look down the list of major life activities, people who kind of were able fairly quickly to return to what you might consider a normal life, and yet they had rather serious forms of cancer; breast cancer, pancreatic cancer, lung cancer. Certainly there are people who get those diseases and have very obvious limitations and a whole host of major life activities. But sometimes people can be treated fairly quickly and yet then turn around and an employer in some way discriminates against them on the basis of that cancer. And so Congress said wait a minute, it is not enough to have this traditional list of major life activities, that is why they created major bodily functions. And if you notice, one of the major bodily functions that Congress identified that EEOC is including in the proposed rule, is normal cell growth. What is cancer by definition, it is abnormal cell growth. So this was a way to make it easier for people with cancer, if you can''t point to one of the traditional major life activities, what about normal cell growth? And so this is a very important category to take note of. In the proposed rule, if you look at the proposed regulation, we give several examples of impairments and what particular major bodily function they are linked to. So we talk about for example, kidney disease affects the bladder function; diabetes affects the endocrine system; epilepsy affects the neurological and brain function; and then there are more that you can look at for yourself. But we are trying to help people understand what the connection would be. And so very important list to pay attention to. So that is the first major set of changes and again how we have taken stuff from the statute but pointing out to you where we are adding things to the list of both the traditional major life activities and major bodily functions. The second set of changes substantially limits. Congress clearly felt that both the EEOC and the courts, starting with the Supreme Court, had required too high a threshold for people to show that their impairment substantially limits a major life activity. Congress believed that the bar had been set too high, it had become too stringent a standard if you will. Congress made clear that they disapproved and wanted us to eliminate any sense that one has to be severely restricted in performing a major life activity, severely restricted, significantly restricted, Congress wanted a lower threshold. So if you look at the proposed rule you will see we say you don''t have to be severely or significantly restricted, instead what we say the evaluation of substantially limits is meant to be is a commonsense assessment of a person''s ability to perform a particular major life activity as compared to most people in the general population. Congress in the committee reports that accompanied the legislation, placed a lot of emphasis on the idea that this really was about commonsense, and it didn''t require one to be an M.D. or have a Ph.D. or be a rocket scientist, they said it was not something that has to require extensive analysis, it doesn''t necessarily mean you always have to require tremendous amounts of medical data to determine does this person meet the definition of disability or not, rather your own kind of life experience, commonsense, that you identify what the impairment is, you identify at least one major life activity. It doesn''t have to be more than one, but maybe in some cases people will have several major life activities impacted, but at least one. And you say in performing that particular major life activity, including major bodily functions now, how is that person in some way affected in performing a major life activity as compared to most people in the general population. The formulation about most people in the general population, the current regulations, the comparison is made to the average person in the general population, in some ways EEOC doesn''t believe this is too big a change, but I think what is behind it, why Congress preferred the formulation of most people in the general population is that they know that sometimes courts looking at that phrase the average person would try to find statistics or data on who is this mythical average person. And again, Congress really didn''t want this assessment of disability to get bogged down in that kind of statistical or data-oriented analysis. So by substituting the phrase most people in the general population as our comparator, the idea here is that in a commonsense way, most of us should be able to tell, and most people don''t have to struggle with or have that kind of difficulty or that kind of limitation in performing a major life activity, and that will equate to being substantially limited. Now in terms of when this is maybe getting a little ahead of ourselves, for those of you who come to this with some knowledge about the ADA Amendments Act, one of the questions that EEOC had to ponder as we developed the proposed regulations is that when we get to discussing the regarded as definition of disability, there is a certain exception that Congress built into that definition that focuses in part on how long an impairment lasts. Well some people raised, you know, should that be imported, should that be used in this very first definition. And in the proposed regulation EEOC rejects that idea. We reject the idea that an impairment must last a minimum of six months to be considered a disability. We say that is not true and we specifically say it is possible that an impairment that either lasts or is expected to last for fewer than six months might meet this definition of disability. So EEOC is not giving any kind of definitive requirement how long something must last, and it is not saying that the mere fact that something is going to last for several months automatically makes it a disability. But we reject in the proposed regulation any idea that to be a disability, an impairment must last a minimum of six months. One more thing before we open it up for the first time to questions, is that in approaching what will meet this definition of disability, what does substantially limit mean here. One of the things that is also in the proposed rule is that EEOC talks about things that are not likely to be disabilities, and in fact comes up with a standard that says temporary, non-chronic impairments of short duration with little or no residual affects usually will not be disability. Okay, so again that is a mouthful, again, it is in your Q&A document. Temporary, non-chronic, that is an important word you are going to see in the second part of this afternoon''s session, the second phase of it, why that term really is important. Non-chronic impairments of short duration with little or no residual affects, those are usually not going to be disabilities. And the proposed rule and the proposed appendix, there is an appendix attached to the proposed rule, the appendix gives some additional information, clarification, guidance on the proposed regulation. But between the proposed rule and our proposed appendix that accompanies it, EEOC provides some examples of things that it does not consider will be disabilities, these include the common cold, seasonal influenza, a sprained joint, like a tennis elbow or you have a sprained ankle. Minor, non-chronic, gastrointestinal disorders, okay, all of us have had upset stomachs, that is what that is getting at. A broken bone that is expected to heal completely. We also talk about appendicitis and seasonal allergies that do not substantially limit someone''s major life activities even when active. All of these are EEOC''s examples of things that are temporary, non-chronic impairments of short duration with little or no residual effects, and as such, those are not disabilities. So that is sort of the contrast that EEOC is setting up in the proposed rule with things that again in a commonsense kind of way when you compare a person with a given impairment, their impact on a particular major life activity with how most people in the general population would perform that same major life activity, those are disabilities. All right, I want to pause here for the first time to take questions. Now, please, we have got a lot more to cover, so the only questions at this point either dealing with major life activities, substantial limits, the retroactivity issue, please hold off on questions that are getting to regarded as, or things that we haven''t even discussed yet. We have got a lot more coming, but let me see if we have any questions so far.
Great, thank you. And Operator, would you give them instructions, please?
Ladies and gentlemen, if you have a question or comment at this time, please press star, one. If your question has been answered or you wish to remove yourself from the queue, please press the pound key. Once again, if you have a question or comment, please press star, one. And our first question comes from, your line is open.
Thank you. Sharon, I have just a clarification question. Conditions such as migraines that might not have been covered in the past, because we now have the neurological under major bodily function, if it does rise to the level of substantially limiting even though it might be something that is not an everyday occurrence, could that possibly be considered a disability now?
It could. We are going to talk about more provisions that could come into play in terms of why it could meet the definition of disability, but you are honing in on the fact that somebody who gets migraine headaches, well what could it be affecting? I don''t know whether it is brain function, neurological function, both of them, but clearly those would be major bodily functions to pay attention to, there could be other types of major life activities impacted. So again, you want to go to those major life activities that are the most obvious ones, and in many cases the most obvious major life activities to start with will be the major bodily functions. And if we find that it is substantially limiting, and again, we have got more provisions that could well come into play that might also be relevant to something like migraine headaches then yes, that could be a disability.
Okay, thank you for the clarification.
Thank you. Other questions please?
Our next question comes from, your line is open.
Has gotten a cold, but I have got a question. I want to know, this concerns retroactivity. Do you foresee, and I have heard other information on it because I have been to some other trainings, will the EEOC regulations when they are adopted, will they be retroactive to the January 1, 2009?
In terms of whether the regulations themselves would be retroactive, EEOC is studying that issue right now. This goes into what kinds of regulations they are considered, it gets into some technical aspects, but no, you are not the first to raise this issue. We are looking at it as to whether or not they could be retroactive to January 1st or whether they will simply go into effect. Let''s say they were finalized on February 1st of 2010, whether that becomes the effective date of the regulation. So all I can tell you at this point is it is being studied and stay tuned.
All right. Thank you.
Would that be something that if somebody wanted to make a comment on, Sharon, that they could?
Certainly. People can certainly raise that certainly in terms of saying that they hope that question will be clearly answered, you can certainly express how you believe it ought to be answered, but that you want at least some clear indication about it. But we certainly expect that we are going to hear from people who study this kind of issue and looking at case precedence and that kind of thing are going to be expressing particular points of view. But yes, you may go ahead and put that into your comments.
Any other questions?
Our next question comes from, your line is open.
Yes, I am sorry, I tuned in a little late because I couldn''t get on to your website. I don''t know what the Q&A thing is that you are referring to, so I didn''t get on early enough to know what that was.
Robin, do you want to take that?
Yes, sure. In your instructions for this session you would have received information about the materials that we are going to be using today for the discussion. And one of them was the Q&A document that was created by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. That was part of the instructions, and that is available on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission''s website also at www.eeoc.gov as well.
If you go to the EEOC website, when you get to the home page Robin just gave you, the website, if you scroll down on the right-hand side you will see in a box highlighted Questions and Answers on the ADA Amendments Act, that is the document.
Our next question comes from, your line is open.
The question is if a person with a disability had some kind of surgery or treatment for that disability, and as a consequence for that treatment ends up with complications, how do those complications fit into ADA? Are they treated as a new disability or as residual effects of the original disability, how does that work?
I think in terms of complications that develop, it is really going to depend on the nature of the complication. I could see in certain circumstances where the complication really is still about the original disability, it is not in and of itself even a new impairment maybe, but really it is a consequence and very closely tied to the disability that somebody''s condition in effect has deteriorated. And you did it on the context of sort of unsuccessful surgery, but it could be that somebody''s condition just by its very nature may get worse or again certain things, you may be in an accident and it exacerbates the disability, so it is not necessarily a whole new impairment let alone a whole new disability. On the other hand, depending on what it is the complication is, I could maybe see circumstances where it is in effect a second disability has arisen. So I think we have to kind of look at the specific facts to know whether you would analyze it as a new disability, a second disability, or really it is just a continuation, an extension of the first one.
One more question and then we will go back to the program.
The next question comes from, your line is open.
Hi. I am monitoring the questions that are being submitted electronically, and I received one from and she wants to know does the list of conditions that consistently met the definition of disability eliminate the individualized assessment of whether an individual who has one of those conditions is essentially limited in a major life activity.
Okay, we are going to get to that issue, so I am making a note of it.
And we are going to pick it up in a few minutes. I am not going to answer it at this time. Okay, why dont we, that will be a good segue to continue at this point.
We are going to open it up for more questions again a little later.
Right, at the end.
I am sorry.
Sharon, at the end you will take questions on anything, right, we are just kind of trying to figure out.
Exactly. No, no, we are not done with questions.
But again, I know that people have a lot of questions.
They are pent up, they want to ask them, but let''s go ahead and get some more.
Information on the table and then I will open it up again.
Okay. All right. Because we are not done yet, we are still looking at that first definition of disability. And Congress was still looking for more ways to ensure that more kinds of conditions would be found to be disabilities, make it easier to find things are disabilities. So let''s move to the next provision, and that has to do with mitigating measures. Those measures that people can take, things people can use that as the name implies, mitigates the symptoms or mitigates the impact of an impairment on performing major life activities. Now as probably most of you know, about ten years ago Supreme Court had a case, actually three cases looking at this whole issue. What do we do with mitigating measures? And the Supreme Court at that time decided well, someone who is using a mitigating measure, we are going to take into account the good that mitigating measure does, we are going to take into account the positive effects. And if the positive effects are so good, so extensive, this person is no longer substantially limited in a major life activity, they do everything just fine, well then that person does not meet the definition of disability the Supreme Court ruled. Congress disagreed with it and they overruled that decision in the ADA Amendments, and EEOC''s proposed rule picks up the language from the statute. If a person is using a mitigating measure, then we must ignore whatever positive effects are coming from that mitigating measure and assess whether a person is substantially limited in a major life activity if they were not to be using the mitigating measure, if they were to stop using it. So you have to disregard the positive effects of a mitigating measure. Now Congress in the statute put out again a non-exhaustive list of examples of mitigating measures. They said we are not going to close the door, more might be added, but they started off by giving a list, the EEOC has taken that list from the statute and we are proposing to put all of those examples into our proposed regulation. Among the things that both the statute and the proposed rule consider to be mitigating measures, things like medication, medical equipment and devices, prosthetic limbs, anybody who has a behavioral modification. For example, somebody with monocular vision, eyesight from one eye only, you can''t have peripheral vision if you have monocular vision. So what does somebody do who has no peripheral vision? Well if you turn your head, that gives you peripheral vision, you can see from side to side. That is an example of a behavioral modification, it is a type of mitigating measure. So we have to ignore that in assessing whether a person is substantially limited in performing a major life activity. Now EEOC is proposing to add to the list, again it is a non-exhaustive list, so we have proposed one additional example in the regulation, and that is that those would be surgical interventions that do not permanently eliminate an impairment. So this is one that we are proposing to add to the list here. So you have to disregard the positive effects of mitigating measures. For those of you who have the Q&A document or when you have a chance to look at it, you will notice that EEOC in this document does point out that while the ADA Amendments prohibit us from taking into account the positive effects of mitigating measures when assessing a disability. You are free to take into account the use of the mitigating measure in terms of making other assessments like is the person qualified, does the person need a reasonable accommodation, is there a direct threat? The prohibition on considering the positive effects for mitigating measures only applies to assessing whether a person is substantially limited, whether a disability exists. But if it is deemed relevant, the use of the mitigating measure in a different context, then you are welcome to take that into account. Now Congress did make one exception which the EEOC is putting into the proposed rule. There was one exception to what is considered a mitigating measure, and that is what Congress and the proposed rule call ordinary eyeglasses or contact lenses. The type of lenses that millions of people, myself included use. People who have fairly minor visual impairments that are correctable with eyeglasses or contact lenses. The exact language used in the statute and mimicked in the proposed regulation are those lenses that are intended to fully correct visual acuity or eliminate refractive error. So if somebody is wearing ordinary glasses, ordinary contact lenses, and that person is trying to claim well, you know, my visual impairment is a disability. Then you can take into account well how well do you see once you put your contact lenses in or you put your glasses on? And if the person pretty much is going to have perfect vision with those glasses or contact lenses, then no, that is not a disability. So we don''t have to ignore the positive effects of those kinds of lenses. One thing to be careful about with that exception is that Congress and the EEOC following Congress''s lead, do consider low vision devices to be a form of mitigating measure, low vision devices. And I always want to caution that we all be a bit careful here, that we don''t unwittingly or accidentally consider a low vision device to be one of these ordinary eyeglasses because they are not. This is of a different caliber altogether low vision devices. And the proposed regulation does go through this contrast between ordinary glasses and low vision devices and so you may want to pay attention to that particular part of the proposed rule. But people who do have far more serious visual impairment and wear these kinds of low vision devices unlike ordinary glasses which in essence just totally correct for the visual impairment, these types of devices do not. And sometimes they are in the form of very specialized glasses, sometimes they are almost something that might be equated with magnifying glasses, only they are much more powerful than the kind I am going to pick up at the drugstore or the hardware store. Again, something that responds much as a hearing aid for a deaf person, that a hearing aid really will not restore a person''s hearing, it may let them know there is sound, but it won''t let them know exactly if people are speaking and what they are saying, it just gives them a sense of sound. Well a low vision device may do something similar for very serious visual impairments, it gives people a sense of objects around them, but no sense of the definition of those objects, so keep that in mind. Okay, that is mitigating measures. Another provision, again, all about expanding the definition of disability here, yet another provision has to do with addressing impairments that are episodic or in remission. And this actually kind of goes back to the question that came in on migraine headaches and whether they might be considered disabilities under certain circumstances, because as was pointed out in the question, a migraine headache doesn''t necessarily last all the time, they are episodic, they are an example of an impairment that people don''t have symptoms 24/7, but rather they flare up for a while, that may just be a few minutes in the case of seizures, epilepsy. A person might have a seizure for a minute or two or maybe five or ten minutes, but they flare up for a bit. Same thing with a migraine headache, may hit somebody, but then it goes back to a kind of quiet state, nobody is having a seizure, a migraine headache. But in a week or two weeks, in two months, six months, yet again they will again have a flare up, that is an episodic condition. There is other examples of it besides these two including, these are again found in the proposed rule; hypertension, multiple sclerosis, asthma, diabetes, major depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. Now these are only examples, but to give us all an idea of different kinds of impairments that can flare up, have active periods, and then they calm down, you have a quiet period, no symptoms. Conditions that are in remission, the common example here, we use it in the proposed regulation, cancer. It is where somebody is not fully cured of a condition, it is not quite something would also be considered episodic. For most kinds of cancers, once somebody is diagnosed they are treated, whatever that initial treatment may consist of, that in the period just after that, it is true if we took the blood sample and we put it under the microscope, we may not see any evidence of cancerous cells. And yet most doctors would not consider you cured at that point, rather there is still a high risk or a higher risk of the cancer returning, of metastasizing. Sometimes that period is two years, three years, as much as five years that doctors will tend to follow individuals with certain kinds of cancer because that is the period of greatest risk for the cancer reoccurring or metastasizing, so it is considered to be in remission at this point. Well Congress did not overlook the episodic impairments or those in remission, and it stated in the statute and this is repeated in the proposed regulation, that conditions that are either episodic or in remission can meet this definition of disability if they would substantially limit a major life activity when active. Okay, so if a condition was to flare up or in the next cycle it is to reoccur, or if the cancer were to return, would it substantially limit a major life activity when it became active again? And if the answer to that question is yes, even though at this moment in time you are in remission with your cancer, at this moment in time you are not having a flare-up of your major depression or your bipolar disorder, or you are not having an epileptic seizure, even so you would still meet the definition of disability, so another important provision here. Now what does this all add up to? Well in the proposed rule, this is not in the statute, but it is in EEOC''s proposed regulation, we took all of these changes, we looked at the lowering of the definition of substantially limitation, the broadening of the definition of major life activity, the episodic remission provision, we looked at the mitigating measures provision, and putting it all together we said you know what, we think that there are certain impairments that consistently will meet the definition of disability. Now this is the answer to the question that I said I wasn''t going to answer a few minutes ago because here is where the answer comes. The proposed rule says it is still an individualized assessment. Congress did not change the requirement, that it is an individualized assessment, in fact in drafting the ADA Amendments Act, Congress rejected an approach that would have simply listed different medical conditions and said these are all disabilities, they rejected that approach. So it is still about an individualized assessment, but what EEOC is proposing to put in the regulation is that when you do an individualized assessment for certain kinds of impairments, the answer consistently will be it is a disability. And we started with some conditions like blindness, deafness, quadriplegia. Sometimes you are doing an individualized analysis in a split second, you don''t even think that you are doing it. I mean, I don''t think anybody is going to disagree with the assessment that everybody with quadriplegia has to meet this definition of disability, you have to meet the old definition of disability by its very nature, at a minimum, a person with quadriplegia is substantially limited in walking, that is just how the nature of the impairment goes. But it is still an individualized assessment, it is just one that is done in a split second and will always result in the same answer. Well thanks to all the changes that Congress made, EEOC thinks that besides blindness, deafness, quadriplegia, there are a number of other impairments that will consistently meet the definition of disability. These are and again, you have got them in the Q&A document, I won''t read the entire list, but give you a sense, we talk about the following: HIV and AIDS, autism, cancer, diabetes, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, major depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, and posttraumatic stress disorder. So for all of these, and there are a few more, I just didn''t read the entire list, you can read it for yourselves, but it is EEOC''s view that you cannot in doing an individualized analysis really come up with any answer other than this has got to consistently be considered a disability when you take into account all of the changes that we have been reviewing. Now the fact that there are obviously there are many more impairments than the ones that are listed here in the proposed regulation is consistently meeting the definition of disability. The fact that something is not on the list doesn''t mean it cannot be a disability. The very next part of the proposed regulation states that it simply means in EEOC''s view other kinds of impairments are going to not always result in a finding of disability, that the assessment you have to make first of all is probably a little more extensive, not greatly extensive, but a little more extensive for other kinds of conditions. And the proposed rule says there are conditions where for some people it will meet the definition of disability but not for everybody, not in the way the examples that I just read you where it really is EEOC''s view, anybody with these conditions would be able to show they meet the definition. A couple of the examples of conditions, maybe for some it is disabling, maybe for others it is not. Learning disabilities, back or leg impairments, certain psychiatric impairments, not the ones that I read, but noting for example, anxiety disorders or panic disorders, asthma. So these are examples to EEOC of impairments that for some people will be disabling and for others it is not. So even if you don''t find a condition on that list that are consistently disabilities doesn''t mean everything else is off that can be but rather we have to do more of an analysis. Okay, I am losing my voice too early to do that. All right. One last thing before we open it up for questions, again, one other change I need to point out to people. One thing that the proposed rule has that you won''t find in the statute has to do with the major life activity of working. In the proposed regulation, EEOC is saying that when you get to the major life activity of working, we believe consistent with what congress is trying to do, that working needed to be simplified, if it becomes too complicated, and that congress clearly was trying to simplify how we approach the definition of disability. So what EEOC is proposing is no longer would you look at the major life activity of working and try to identify a class or a broad range of jobs, instead EEOC is proposing you look at the type of work at issue, not whether it is part of a class or a broad range of jobs, but rather what is the type of work. EEOC gives some examples of types of work, commercial truck driving, assembly line jobs, law enforcement jobs, service jobs. We also point out that you can identify a type of work by certain qualification standards or certain job requirements that people are expected to meet that these are the kinds of things someone with a disability may say this is what I have problems doing. And again, these were examples we offer in the proposed rule, things like repetitive bending or repetitive reaching, prolonged sitting or prolonged standing, walking great distances, having to work under certain kinds of conditions, high stress, high heat, high temperatures, or very cold temperatures, driving. So looking at qualification standards or certain job requirements may also help people to identify the type of work. And what EEOC is saying is if somebody is substantially limited in a type of work, then that would equal a disability under the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act. All right, let me pause at this point again. Any questions on anything we have covered so far? Okay, the next segment we are going to get into is going to address the regarded as definition, but anything that we have already talked about so far?
Operator, can you give everyone instructions again?
Once again, if you have a question or a comment, please press star, one. The first question comes from, and I apologize if I mispronounce your name, your line is open.
The question I have is what would be, could you please give an example of what would be considered a disabling condition that would last less than six months, because we went through a fracture wouldn''t be considered a disability, what would be an example other than a condition that is part of an episodic condition?
In terms of something that might last for six months, might last less than six months and still be a disability but not something that was a fracture, I am not sure if I can give you something. I think that EEOC wants to keep the door open here. EEOC even in the original ADA and Rehabilitation Act, had never used six months as kind of a cutoff, so given that the whole intent of the Amendments Act was to broaden coverage, it didn''t think it made any sense to back away from what it had always used as a standard which was the term several months or more. And EEOC had never interpreted several months to mean a minimum of six months. So in terms of giving you specifics as to what EEOC might find could well be covered even though it may last less than this. The one example I have tended to use here, and again I will say that this is speaking strictly for myself, it is not I am going to say something that EEOC may disagree with me on, but it is the closest I can come up with, and I based this on my own experience. A torn Achilles tendon. There could be an argument that essentially a torn Achilles tendon, as I came to learn, probably goes to about five, five and a half months, but it might carry over, there is still some residual effects perhaps beyond that period. But an argument might be made that pretty much the healing process, your post surgery, all the limitations at about five, five and a half months, no, you probably don''t have it, and I think that kind of is perhaps an illustration of something that is bumping up towards your six months, it is not there yet. But certainly while somebody is having the surgery, post surgery, you have got this enormous cast, you cannot put pressure on the leg for quite a few months, that would amount to a substantial limitation in walking and standing, even potentially a major bodily function, so that might be the kind of thing where you are getting more into that five, five and a half months, but yet it won''t be permanent, and it still may be longer the things that are the temporary non-chronic impairments of short duration with little or no residual effect. But I expect we will probably have other examples that people will offer to us in the comments or questions people will come up with to see if they can have EEOC flush that out a bit more.
Any other questions please?
Our next question comes from, your line is open.
Hi, Sharon. I had sort of a coverage question which I guess is a bigger question really. I am wondering how the ADA Amendments Act and the new regs will play out with the Fair Employment Practice agencies. Will they be using the new definition, should we be counseling people to file charges with EEOC, or how is that going to work?
What EEOC is proposing here will only apply to the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act. Now to the extent that any state agencies are enforcing either one of those laws, then they are going to have to follow these definitions too, to the extent that state law. But that is a separate thing altogether, and the ADA Amendments Act is not extent to changing state laws. Either states are going to have to change their own laws if they want to track the changes made by the ADA Amendments Act. I mean, if the state law is written that basically it just mirrors the ADA, maybe they don''t have to amend the state law. But in terms of what law a state agency is enforcing, if they are enforcing ADA or Rehabilitation Act, this is what the definition are going to have to use.
So in terms of EEOC''s agreements with the Fair Employment Practices agencies?
The Fair Employment Practices agencies are already having to begin using the ADA Amendments Act.
One more question and then we will go back.
Our next question comes from, your line is open.
Is paraplegia one of those that would be consistently considered a disability?
Yes, it is because the language that we use here, and let me see if I can very quickly find it, I think it is mobility impairment.
Requiring the use of a wheelchair.
There you go. Thank you, Robin. So yes, I mean, exactly, that is going to consistently be a disability. Okay. All right. I am going to cut off questions at this point, you are going to have one more opportunity to ask questions on anything you want, but let''s go through the rest of the proposed rule. We have now covered the first definition of disability, and everything we have discussed will apply to the second definition of disability, the record of the disability, it is simply that you are going to apply it in the past tense because most of the times when we deal with record of a disability it is about the past tense to the extent that you can''t sort of get somebody covered today with having an actual disability, it is looking at some time in the past. And so everything we have talked about in terms of the changes with major life activities and substantial limitation et cetera, et cetera, you are just going to now apply it to your assessment of record of a disability. So what I want to now focus on is that third definition, the regarded as definition, because we have big changes here. And as I said at the beginning, really Congress has written a whole new definition that of course EEOC has picked up and put into the proposed regulation. And that is where a covered entity, be it an employer, a labor union, what have you and remember by the way, I work for EEOC, I deal with employment so I approach the issues this way, but all of these changes apply to the entire ADA or to all of the antidiscrimination sections of the Rehabilitation Act. So if you are a public accommodation then everything I am talking about applies to those people who want to use your service, your public accommodation. If you are a state and local government agency, the services, programs you provide, everything I am talking about applies to people in the public with disabilities, this is how we are going to define disability. Okay, with that tangent regarded as, it means when an entity takes an action that is prohibited under the ADA or the Rehabilitation Act, takes an action that would be prohibited, what we mean by that? Basically you take an action that could be challenged, it is discriminatory; you don''t hire me, you revoke a job offer, you give me a poor evaluation, you discipline me, you do not promote me, you terminate my employment, okay. These are all employment actions, could be challenged in the context of a public accommodation, you won''t admit me to your public accommodation. Or a government service, you will not let me participate, okay, some kind of negative action towards someone. If you take a negative action based on either an actual impairment that the person has or an impairment you perceive the person to have, that constitutes regarding the person as having a disability. Okay, when you take, let''s for simplicity''s sake stay with employment. If you take an employment action and you base it on either a person''s actual impairment or an impairment that for some reason you perceive the person to have, then you have regarded the person as having a disability. The idea here is that Congress removed anything about whether an employer regards a person as having an impairment that substantially limits a major life activity. No more do we have to try to get inside the employer''s head, did you think they were substantially limited in a major life activity, that is all gone, it is much more direct and straightforward. You identify an action the employer takes and you simply ask what was the reason behind the action? If the reason was a person''s impairment or an impairment that the employer for whatever reason perceived the person to have, that now constitutes regarding a person as having a disability, and at that point the person has coverage. Now the proposed regulation, this is all from the statute, we are just importing it into the proposed rule. The proposed regulation does point out to regard someone as having a disability does not mean that you violated the law, it simply means there is now coverage and somebody can challenge the action. Remember I said the employer has taken an action, so somebody is not happy that you have terminated them, someone is not happy that you don''t promote them, someone is not happy that you revoked the job offer. That is what will be challenged now and that is where liability could occur, is the focus will be on did you have legitimate reason not to hire the person, not to promote the person, did you have legitimate reasons to fire the person. So having established you regarded the person as having a disability, it is not a violation of the law, but it leads into a focus, an analysis on what you as an employer have done. And if you don''t have a legitimate reason for your employment action, then that is what could lead to liability under either the ADA or the Rehabilitation Act. Now if you think about it, this obviously expanding the regarded as coverage, it is quite a broad definition because it is all hinging on whether an employment action is based on an impairment or a perceived impairment. Well think about this, impairment, as we discussed earlier, very broad. Common cold is an impairment. But Congress did not broaden the definition that much, rather they have an exception, and the exception again, EEOC is putting this into the proposed rule. If the impairment at issue is both, and I am going to underscore the word both, transitory and minor, then it cannot be the basis of a claim that somebody has regarded you as having a disability. Okay, let''s review this because this is a bit complicated. If the impairment at issue, whether it is an actual impairment the person has or the perceived impairment, the employer for some reason got it into his or her head that a particular person has an impairment, they don''t, but for some reason I think the person has HIV, I think the person has arthritis, I think the person has hepatitis, okay. If whatever that actual or perceived impairment is, if it is both transitory and minor, then it cannot serve as the basis for a regarded as claim. Now Congress defined transitory as lasting six months or less. Minor was not defined in the statute, and at this point the EEOC is not defining it in the proposed regulation, but an impairment has to meet both of those to qualify for this exception. It is not enough to just meet one, you must meet both. So it would have to be a showing that no, you can''t be regarded as because the impairment at issue is both transitory, so it would last only up to six months. If it lasts for six and a half months or seven months, it is not going to qualify for the exception, even if it is fairly minor. It is a limp, okay, a very minor limp, no pain, person walks as much as he or she has ever walked, they can stand as much, you know, but something has caused a fairly minor limp. Okay, it is meeting one of those requirements, it is minor, but if it is going to last six and a half, seven months, it is not considered transitory, and therefore it would not be exempted from the regarded as. So if an employer took an employment action based on that limp, it does trigger regarded as coverage. Now again, it doesn''t mean that the action the employer took is illegal or discriminatory, but if challenged, the employer would have to defend, the action would have to show why it is not discriminatory, why there are legitimate reasons behind the action. Now one other thing that Congress did hear that again is picked up in the proposed regulation, is that Congress said look, if somebody only meets the regarded as definition, they don''t meet the first two definitions, only the regarded as definition, they are not entitled to reasonable accommodation. Reasonable accommodation is limited to those people who meet the first two definitions, but if they only meet the regarded as, they are not entitled to reasonable accommodation. Now if a person meets the regarded as definition and the first definition of disability and they claim they do need a reasonable accommodation, well they are potentially eligible then for it. The exclusion here are only for people who solely will meet the definition of disability by showing they have been regarded as. Now there is something that the proposed rule that EEOC is proposing to put in the rule that is not mentioned in the statute so let me highlight it for you here. In the proposed regulation, EEOC states that it is possible to trigger regarded as coverage if and again, let me stay in the employment context, if an employer were to take one of these employment actions based either on a person''s use of the mitigating measure or a symptom of an impairment even if the employer did not know about the underlying impairment. Okay. So what EEOC is proposing is that an employer does not have to have knowledge about the impairment, it will be enough to trigger regarded as coverage if the employer''s action is based either on a person''s use of the mitigating measure. The example we give is somebody who takes an anti-seizure medication for epilepsy, employer just knows about the medication, they don''t actually have the diagnosis of epilepsy but they just know the person for example is using Dilantin and oh, I don''t want someone who is using Dilantin. You know, we have got, whatever they are concern is, maybe it is a direct threat kind of concern, but we don''t want that person in this job so we are not going to hire them because they use Dilantin. EEOC is proposing, this is not from the statute but the proposed rule, that even though the employer, all I knew was Dilantin, I don''t know what they have, what exactly it is being used for. Nonetheless, EEOC''s proposed rule would say that triggers regarded as coverage because the reason the person it will turn out is taking Dilantin is to control seizures caused by epilepsy. In terms of taking an action based on a symptom, the proposed rule gives the example of an employer who doesn''t want to hire somebody with a facial tick. Now the reason for the facial tick, what the employer does not know, is that it is caused by Tourette Syndrome. All the employer knows is it does not want somebody with that facial tick working in a particular kind of job. So the employment action, I am not hiring you because of your facial tick. Even though the employer doesn''t know what is causing the facial tick because it is a symptom of Tourette Syndrome, that is the reason the person has the facial tick, that would trigger regarded coverage. EEOC has specifically asked for comments on this provision. Obviously we want comments on everything, you are welcome to give comments on everything, but this in particular, if you see the proposed rule, this provision, specifically EEOC has asked for comments. Very quickly, let me touch on, this is really now covered disability, and before we open it up for questions in the remaining period, let me just mention one more provision that doesn''t deal with the definition of disability. Some of you out there, some employers out there, you may have jobs that have uncorrected vision standards where one of your requirements, your qualifications, is people have a certain level of uncorrected vision, certain ability to see without those glasses and contact lenses. In the ADA Amendments and in the proposed regulation, what EEOC has picked from the statute is any uncorrected vision standard can be challenged by both people with and without disabilities. In almost all cases, if somebody wants to challenge an employer''s qualification standard under either the ADA or the Rehabilitation Act, that person has to meet one of the definitions of disadvantage. But in the ADA Amendment and in the proposed regulation what EEOC is saying is you don''t have to have a disability, rather uncorrected vision standards can be challenged by anybody, and so the focus is never going to be on does the person challenging have a disability, the immediate focus becomes the justification for the uncorrected vision standard. So I want to alert any employers who have uncorrected vision standards. If you have them it doesn''t mean throw them away, get rid of them, but you should be using this as an opportunity to go back and reevaluate them. Why do you have them, what purpose do they serve? Is it a legitimate measure of the ability to perform an essential function? Whatever you have set as your uncorrected vision standard, why is that where you are setting it, is there another way to set it? So just go back and make sure rather than waiting for a challenge to come, make sure that these are fine. There are a few more changes, you can read about them in the Q&A document, but since is growing showing short, why don''t we open it up for questions now to bring us to the end of the period.
Great. Thank you, Sharon. Lets see if, now at this point we will take questions on any aspect of the proposed regulation and we have a few more minutes left, so why don''t we go ahead and give instructions and take some more questions.
Once again, if you have a question or comment, please press star, one at this time. And our first question comes from, your line is open.
Hi, Sharon. I just have a question about those conditions that are episodic or in remission and how we go about accommodating them and the documentation that we might seek to understand when they are currently flaring up or not. For example, some employees may have a routine where they are in a flare-up condition during the summer when their children are out of school. And while we have determined that yes, accommodations may be appropriate, we are not necessarily certain that they would need to ask for the full summer months. And so we are wondering can we seek additional clarification from the healthcare provider like we might in an FMLA situation?
Absolutely. I mean when somebody is requesting reasonable accommodation, as an employer you are entitled to know number one, that it is a disability, but a lot more things are going to be disabilities now. So really the biggest part of the focus of the interactive process is going to be what do you need and why do you need it, and how is your need connected to your disability? And so the fact that somebody has an episodic condition, well right off the bat there may be questions, do you need a reasonable accommodation when it flares up? Or do you need a reasonable accommodation even when it is not flaring up? It is completely a legitimate question, it may be much easier to see why someone would need it when there is a flare-up, but not necessarily need it all the time. Now the fact that something is episodic like epilepsy, I may not know when I am going to have a seizure, but if I am asking, for example, to do some changes to my office so that if I were to have a seizure while I am in the office, if there is say some sharp edges to my desk or something like that and I want to put some protective covering on it, well it is kind of silly to say well only when you have the seizure and then we will rush in and we will put it on, of course not. You are going to put that on all the time because we will never quite know when a flare-up is going to occur. But for other things, and I think that is what your example is going to, is more where it is not necessarily just a few minutes but a period of time, you know, why do you need it now, and is it really about your disability or is it about something else. And even if you need something over some of the summer months but really the documentation and again, never overlook a full conversation with the employee, that is really critical that you want a sense of why is it the entire summer as opposed to one month or six or seven weeks of the summer, but you can still do that. Nothing in the ADA Amendments effects your ability to ask those kinds of questions, and if necessary get documentation to show the support, the need for the accommodation.
Next question please.
Our next question comes from, your line is open.
Yes, Sharon, with regards to the symptoms, language in the regarded as section, is there a possibility that more examples could be included in the regulation?
If you want to make the comment, I mean, that is exactly the kind of thing that if you are looking for additional examples and you have got some in mind and you think it would be helpful, that is exactly the kind of thing that you want to put into comments to the EEOC.
This is your opportunity to weigh in. Next question please.
Our next question comes from, your line is open.
Yes, hi, thank you. I was pleased to see the examples discussing respiratory breathing problems from exposure to cleaning products, perfumes, and cigarette smoke, and I wanted to ask EEOC to consider expanding that to include a reference to chemical sensitivities because clearly those are things that trigger those reactions. And also recommending perhaps inclusion of separate examples for chemical sensitivity and perhaps an EEOC Q&A on that topic, because so many people with those disabilities fail to get accommodated, lose their jobs, even when accommodations are modest and expensive.
Everything that you are saying, the transcript for today''s program will become part of the EEOC''s public record, but again I do encourage you to submit comments if you were not intending to, to raise all the points. I mean it is duly noted everything you are saying, I will certainly be carrying it back to my colleagues, but I really don''t want people to underestimate the importance of sending in those comments like you were just making, and making your case for why you think that this is important to do. Because it is kind of a speak now or forever hold your peace. This really is your opportunity and it can change the whole look of the final regulation. I can''t tell you at all, nobody could, what we are going to end up with as a final regulation, but from experience with the first version of the ADA, a lot changed thanks to the public comments that came in.
Okay, thank you.
Next question please.
Our next question comes from, your line is open.
My phone was fading on this end so I hope you can hear me.
We can hear you.
Okay. Sharon, did I hear you right in suggesting that your proposed regs when finalized will apply to Title III and Title II outside the realm of employment? Your confidence is well deserved, but I wasn''t aware it was going to lead into.
Thank you for the question because actually it gives me an opportunity to clarify. The ADA Amendments Act applies to Titles II and III of the ADA just as it is going to apply to Sections 503 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. But in terms of whether the Justice Department will adopt the EEOC''s final regulation as its own, whether it might make some slight changes to whatever we put in our final regulation, that may differ bit. Obviously Department of Justice cannot change the things that are in the statute, and that is why the Q&A documents and my presentation this afternoon, I really tried to delineate. Here is what is in the statute, DOJ can''t change it, EEOC can''t change it. But if EEOC ends up doing something a little different, beyond what is in the statute and in Department of Justice or Department of Labor wants take a slightly different view, they potentially could. Mostly they will try to be in sync, and by the way, we are working closely with all the major federal agencies, they too have the say in this, they are following it. We have heard from them, we are going to hear more from them because obviously the closer we can all come to having one definition the better it is. But everybody, every federal agency will follow the ADA Amendments Act the statute.
And just for clarification, that is the purpose also for the DOJ to be part of the town hall listening sessions, is that not correct?
Okay. So all right. Unfortunately we are at the bottom of the hour. I do want to thank everyone for your engagement today in this particularly important topic. I want to thank our speaker, Sharon Rennert, for her time with us today. As she had indicated in her comments, we are providing the EEOC, a copy of the written transcript from this session that they will then enter in and consider it as part of the public comment period. So I think that there is a lot of value to that for all of you that raised some questions. But I would encourage you as Sharon said, if you have particular area that you are passionate about and really want to be considered or comment on, do go through that process of submitting comments. And they do make it easy for you, it is both online as well as you can submit via telephone as well, and now that information is on the link that you were provided in your instructions today. I do invite everyone to join us for next month''s session being held on November 18th, and that session will be a legal update, case law update, it will feature Barry Taylor from Equip for Equality. This is a one year since we had our last legal update to look at where the case law and things have been. Obviously it will be different than it has in the past with the things that have been happening under the ADA Amendments Act. We haven''t had a lot of cases in the courts yet but there has been a few. So we will be talking about some of those as well as other issues under Title I and Title II and Title III at next month''s session. Our December session is going to focus on the employment aspects related to the use of some social networking programs and the impact of those programs and accessibility on employers and businesses as they begin to branch out using more of those ways to reach out in their networking and their outreach to customers and potential employees, and the issues of concern related to accessibility and things to be concerned about for that. And that will feature speakers from the Job Accommodation Network. So if you would like more information or a complete list of all of our programs, go to www.ada-audio.org. I would like again to thank our speaker, I would like to recognize the fact that this program is being brought to you by the National Network of ADA Centers. If you have questions following this program, if you can''t locate the documents that you are looking for or something, please call your regional ADA Center at 800-949-4232 or go to our website at www.adata.org to locate the center in your region. Again, thank you very much and everyone have a great day.
Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for your participation in today''s conference, this does conclude the program. You may all disconnect. Everyone have a wonderful day.