The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) defines disability, with respect to an individual, as "a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of such individual; a record of such an impairment; or being regarded as having such an impairment."
The phrase physical or mental impairment means--
- Any physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting one or more of the following body systems: neurological, musculoskeletal, special sense organs, respiratory (including speech organs), cardiovascular, reproductive, digestive, genitourinary, hemic and lymphatic, skin, and endocrine;
- Any mental or psychological disorder such as mental retardation, organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, and specific learning disabilities.
Physical or mental impairment includes, but is not limited to, such contagious and non-contagious diseases and conditions as orthopedic, visual, speech and hearing impairments, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, mental retardation, emotional illness, specific learning disabilities, HIV disease (whether symptomatic or asymptomatic), tuberculosis, drug addiction, and alcoholism. Major life activities are functions such as caring for one's self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working. Having a record of such an impairment means a person has a history of, or has been misclassified as having, a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. Being regarded as having an impairment means--
- Having a physical or mental impairment that does not substantially limit major life activities but being treated by a public entity as constituting such a limitation; having a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits major life activities only as a result of the attitudes of others toward such impairment; or
- Having none of the impairments defined above but being treated by a public entity as having such an impairment.
NOTE: A "public entity" means: any state or local government; any department, agency, or other organization of such government; etc.NOTE: The term individual with a disability does not include someone who is currently using illegal drugs.