Workplaces and the rules around disabilities have changed since the COVID-19 pandemic. You may suffer from long-term COVID-19 symptoms or have recently contracted the disease. There may be confusion about your status in the workplace because of these long-term symptoms or if you would be qualified under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Recently, on December 14th, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission came out with an update around COVID-19, and here is what they had to say.
What did the EEOC guidance say?
The EEOC states COVID-19 can fall under all three categories of a disability. They are: 1) an ‘actual’ disability, 2) a ‘record’ of a disability, and 3) ‘regarded as’ an individual with a disability.
For an ‘actual’ disability, the employer must assess the employee and determine if COVID-19 impairs the employee mentally or physically and if it substantially impairs one or more life activities. This does not mean that the individual cannot do a life activity, such as breathing or interacting with others, instead it must show a ‘substantial impairment.’ Medication or medical equipment used by the employee should also be taken into account.
For having a ‘record’ of a disability, it depends on the circumstances of the situation. Qualifying reasons would include if the employee has a history of a disability or has been classified with an impairment that substantially limits a major life activity. Again, this depends on the employer’s assessment
For being ‘regarded as’ an individual with a disability, the impairment must be considered minor and with a duration of six months or less. However, it must be said that if an employer makes an adverse action against an employee who is ‘regarded as’ an individual with a disability, it does not automatically violate the ADA. The individual still needs to be qualified for the job and the employer has the right to make the employee with COVID-19 work at home because they may cause harm to others.
Need More Information?
Whether you have COVID-19 or have COVID-19 symptoms that have been lasting for a long time, contact your employer to do an assessment for a disability. If you have any further questions about the ADA, look at https://www.ada.gov/ for more information
If you feel that your employer is not giving you a fair chance for an assessment, please reach out and find our information at https://cramer-law.com/