The New York Times is reporting that the U.S. House has passed a major civil rights bill on Wednesday that would expand protections for people with disabilities and overturn several Supreme Court decisions issued in the last decade. We previously addressed this bill here.
The bill, which was approved 402 to 17, would make it easier for workers to prove discrimination. It would explicitly relax some stringent standards set by the court and says that disability is to be “construed broadly,” to cover more physical and mental impairments.
Perhaps the most important change contained in the bill is a fundamental change in what by definition would qualify as a protected disability. Under the bill, a less stringent standard, that an impairment qualifies as a disability if it “materially restricts” a major life activity like seeing, hearing, eating, walking, reading or thinking would replace the existing strict standard.