Statement of Peggy Mastroianni, Associate Legal Counsel

Meeting of June 17, 2009 - Proposed Rulemaking Implementing the ADA Amendments Act of 2008

Good morning Acting Chairman, Acting Vice Chair, Commissioner Barker, and members of the public.

I am Peggy Mastroianni, Associate Legal Counsel, and for the last year I have had the privilege of working on this proposed rule and appendix implementing the ADA Amendments Act with two extraordinary attorneys in the Office of Legal Counsel -- Christopher Kuczynski and Jeanne Goldberg.

Driving the development of the rule from day one has been Congress's exhortation in the Act that the definition of disability should "be construed in favor of broad coverage" and "should not demand extensive analysis."

After an earlier version of this proposed rule failed to get Commission approval last December, we worked intensely to fashion a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would from beginning to end reflect the intent of Congress. We coordinated productively with the Commission's program offices -- the Office of General Counsel, Office of Federal Operations, and Office of Field Programs; we went back to the legislative history again and again; and we thought long and hard about how the Amendments Act intends to change the way that ADA claims are addressed at EEOC and in the courts.

On April 28, 2009, we circulated a new draft rule to the Commission for a briefing period which was later extended. During this time, we discussed the content of the proposed rule with the offices of the Commissioners. The proposed rule that you are considering today reflects some changes resulting from the briefing period.

I will now turn this over to Chris Kuczynski who will review the substance of the proposed rule and appendix in detail. Then we will both respond to your questions.

Finally, let me briefly note that, if the Commission approves this Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, it will go to other federal agencies and OMB for review, and then -- only when that review is completed -- will it be published in the Federal Register for notice and comment. Following the notice and comment process, a Final Rule will be developed for a final Commission vote and OMB review.

Thank you for the opportunity to speak to you today.