Substantial Limitation | Meaning and Definition

What is a substantial limitation?

A substantial limitation is a condition that causes a severe enough impairment or handicap to limit a “major living activity” or “main physiological function,” such as:

  •   Walking, kneeling, bending, carrying, and other exercises
  •   Breathing
  •   Communication and reading
  •   Learning, thinking, focusing, and so on.
  •   carrying out manual labor
  •   Normal cell growth, as well as the immunological, circulatory, and neurological systems
  •   Functions of the digestive, colon, and bladder

What Does the ADA Consider a “Substantial Limitation”?

In 2009, changes to the Americans with Impairments Act went into effect to protect people with disabilities from discrimination in areas like employment. The “limitations” that qualify as a disability are listed in a three-part definition.

  •       The first pillar deals with current limitations.
  •       Cancer is one example of a physical limitation.
  •       Multiple sclerosis is a disease that affects people.
  •       Blindness
  •       Diabetes

Alternatively, a current mental illness such as:

  •       Dyslexia
  •       PTSD stands for post-traumatic stress disorder.
  •       Schizophrenia
  •       Autism
  •       A deformity of the face, such as those resulting from severe burns.
  •       Anatomical loss, such as the amputation of an arm.

The second prong addresses a disability that isn’t actively impacting a person, including when cancer is already in remission or a person has healed from PTSD.

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