2020 Georgia Code
Title 34 - Labor and Industrial Relations
Chapter 6A - Equal Employment for Persons With Disabilities
§ 34-6A-2. Definitions

Universal Citation: GA Code § 34-6A-2 (2020)

As used in this chapter, the term:

  1. "Disability" means any condition or characteristic that renders a person an individual with disabilities but shall not include addiction to any drug or illegal or federally controlled substance nor addiction to the use of alcohol.
  2. "Employer" means a person or governmental unit or officer in this state having in his, her, or its employ 15 or more individuals or any person acting as an agent of an employer.
  3. "Individual with disabilities" means any person who has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more of such person's major life activities and who has a record of such impairment. The term "individual with disabilities" shall not include any person who is addicted to the use of any drug or illegal or federally controlled substance nor addiction to the use of alcohol.
  4. "Labor organization" means an organization of any kind; agents of such organization; an agency or employee representation committee, group, association, or plan in which employees participate and which exists for the purpose, in whole or in part, of dealing with employers concerning grievances, labor disputes, wages, rates of pay, hours, or other terms or conditions of employment; or a conference, general committee, joint or system board, or joint council so engaged which is subordinate to a national or international labor organization.
  5. "Major life activities" means functions such as caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working.
  6. "Persons" means one or more individuals, partnerships, this state, municipalities or other political subdivisions within the state, associations, labor organizations, or corporations.
  7. "Physical or mental impairment" means:
    1. Any physiological disorder or condition 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, or endocrine; or
    2. Intellectual disabilities and specific learning disabilities.
  8. "Substantially limits" means that the impairment so affects a person as to create a likelihood that such person will experience difficulty in securing, retaining, or advancing in employment because of a disability.
  9. "Unfair employment practice" means an act that is prohibited under this chapter.

(Code 1933, § 66-502, enacted by Ga. L. 1981, p. 1803, § 2; Ga. L. 1982, p. 3, § 34; Ga. L. 1995, p. 1302, § 4; Ga. L. 2015, p. 385, § 4-16/HB 252.)

The 2015 amendment, effective July 1, 2015, substituted "Intellectual disabilities" for "Mental retardation" at the beginning of subparagraph (7)(B).

Code Commission notes.

- Pursuant to § 28-9-5, in 1988, hyphens were deleted in paragraphs (2) and (3).

Editor's notes.

- Ga. L. 2015, p. 385, § 1-1/HB 252, not codified by the General Assembly, provides that: "This Act shall be known and may be cited as the 'J. Calvin Hill, Jr., Act.' "

Ga. L. 2015, p. 385, § 4-16/HB 252, purported to amend this Code section by substituting "mental retardation" for "intellectual disabilities"; however, "intellectual" was capitalized due to appearing at the beginning of subparagraph (7)(B).


Handicapped individual illustrated.

- Employee's sensitivity to pipe smoke of employer's vice president was not an impairment that affected the employee's ability generally to secure employment and the employee did not meet the definition of "handicapped individual" under O.C.G.A. § 34-6A-2. Hennly v. Richardson, 264 Ga. 355, 444 S.E.2d 317 (1994).

Claustrophobia and depression.

- Trial court correctly concluded that the plaintiff's conditions of claustrophobia and depression did not constitute a "handicap" within the meaning of the Georgia Equal Employment for the Handicapped Code (GEEHC). The statute clearly and unambiguously manifests the General Assembly's intent to exclude emotional and mental disorders of that type from the coverage of the GEEHC by limiting the definition of mental impairment to any physiological disorder or condition or anatomical loss affecting certain body systems or mental retardation and specific learning disabilities. Bowers v. Estep, 204 Ga. App. 615, 420 S.E.2d 336, cert. denied, 204 Ga. App. 921, 420 S.E.2d 336 (1992).



- Who is "individual with handicaps" under Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 USCS §§ 701 et seq.), 97 A.L.R. Fed. 40.

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