H.B. No. 978
  relating to the employment rights of certain individuals with
         SECTION 1.  Section 21.002, Labor Code, is amended by
  amending Subdivision (1) and adding Subdivisions (2), (11-a), and
  (12-a) to read as follows:
               (1)  "Auxiliary aids and services" includes:
                     (A)  qualified interpreters or other effective
  methods of making aurally delivered materials available to
  individuals with hearing impairments;
                     (B)  qualified readers, taped texts, or other
  effective methods of making visually delivered materials available
  to individuals with visual impairments;
                     (C)  acquisition or modification of equipment or
  devices; and
                     (D)  services and actions similar to those
  described by Paragraphs (A)-(C).
               (2)  "Bona fide occupational qualification" means a
                     (A)  reasonably related to the satisfactory
  performance of the duties of a job; and
                     (B)  for which a factual basis exists for the
  belief that no person of an excluded group would be able to
  satisfactorily perform the duties of the job with safety or
               (11-a)  "Major life activity" includes, but is not
  limited to, caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing,
  hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending,
  speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking,
  communicating, and working. The term also includes the operation
  of a major bodily function, including, but not limited to,
  functions of the immune system, normal cell growth, and digestive,
  bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory,
  endocrine, and reproductive functions.
               (12-a)  "Regarded as having such an impairment" means
  subjected to an action prohibited under Subchapter B or C because of
  an actual or perceived physical or mental impairment, other than an
  impairment that is minor and is expected to last or actually lasts
  less than six months, regardless of whether the impairment limits
  or is perceived to limit a major life activity.
         SECTION 2.  Subchapter A, Chapter 21, Labor Code, is amended
  by adding Section 21.0021 to read as follows:
         Sec. 21.0021.  CONSTRUCTION OF CERTAIN DEFINITIONS. (a) The
  term "disability":
               (1)  shall be construed in favor of broad coverage of
  individuals under Subchapters B and C, to the maximum extent
  allowed under those subchapters; and
               (2)  includes an impairment that is episodic or in
  remission that substantially limits a major life activity when
         (b)  The determination of whether an impairment
  substantially limits a major life activity must be made without
  regard to the ameliorative effects of mitigating measures,
               (1)  medication, medical supplies, medical equipment,
  medical appliances, prosthetic limbs and devices, hearing aids,
  cochlear implants and other implantable hearing devices, mobility
  devices, and oxygen therapy equipment;
               (2)  devices that magnify, enhance, or otherwise
  augment a visual image, other than eyeglasses and contact lenses
  that are intended to fully correct visual acuity or eliminate
  refractive error;
               (3)  the use of assistive technology;
               (4)  reasonable accommodations and auxiliary aids or
  services; and
               (5)  learned behavioral or adaptive neurological
         SECTION 3.  Section 21.005, Labor Code, is amended to read as
  FEDERAL] LAWS. (a) This chapter does not relieve a government
  agency or official of the responsibility to ensure
  nondiscrimination in employment as required under another
  provision of the state or federal constitutions or laws.
         (b)  This chapter does not affect the standards for
  determining eligibility for benefits under Title 5 or under a state
  or federal disability benefit program.
         (c)  Nothing in this chapter may be construed as the basis
  for a claim by an individual without a disability that the
  individual was subject to discrimination because of the
  individual's lack of a disability.
         SECTION 4.  Section 21.115, Labor Code, is amended to read as
         Sec. 21.115.  BUSINESS NECESSITY. (a) Subject to Subsection
  (b), an [An] employer does not commit an unlawful employment
  practice by engaging in a practice that has a discriminatory effect
  and that would otherwise be prohibited by this chapter if the
  employer establishes that the practice:
               (1)  is not intentionally devised or operated to
  contravene the prohibitions of this chapter; and
               (2)  is justified by business necessity.
         (b)  An employer may not use a qualification standard,
  employment test, or other selection criterion based on an
  individual's uncorrected vision unless the standard, test, or
  criterion is consistent with business necessity and job-related for
  the position to which the standard, test, or criterion applies.
         SECTION 5.  Section 21.128, Labor Code, is amended by adding
  Subsection (d) to read as follows:
         (d)  A respondent is not obligated to make a reasonable
  workplace accommodation to a known physical or mental limitation of
  an otherwise qualified individual under Subsection (a) if the
  individual's disability is based solely on being regarded as having
  an impairment that substantially limits at least one major life
         SECTION 6.  The change in law made by this Act applies only
  to a claim of discrimination based on conduct that occurs on or
  after the effective date of this Act. A claim of discrimination
  that is based on conduct that occurs before the effective date of
  this Act is governed by the law in effect on the date the conduct
  occurred, and the former law is continued in effect for that
         SECTION 7.  This Act takes effect September 1, 2009.
  ______________________________ ______________________________
     President of the Senate Speaker of the House     
         I certify that H.B. No. 978 was passed by the House on May 8,
  2009, by the following vote:  Yeas 83, Nays 44, 2 present, not
  Chief Clerk of the House   
         I certify that H.B. No. 978 was passed by the Senate on May
  27, 2009, by the following vote:  Yeas 31, Nays 0.
  Secretary of the Senate    
  APPROVED:  _____________________