When planning a return to work, employers must meet all public safety codes, building codes, applicable laws, and security requirements. Specifically, as it relates to the public and employees, ADA requirements must not be compromised.
Update and share guidelines for lactation room usage to support nursing mothers in the workplace. Address issues related to how to access the space, utilization of supplies, and cleaning and disinfection practices. Post signage to encourage proper hand hygiene.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces workplace anti-discrimination laws including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act, including the requirement for reasonable accommodation for those with disabilities, and rules about medical examinations and inquiries. Updated guidance was issued in Fall 2021 stating: The EEOC recognizes that “long COVID” may be a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act in certain circumstances. The EEOC agrees with the analysis of “long COVID” by the Departments of Health and Human Services and Justice in their “Guidance on ‘Long COVID’ as a Disability under the ADA, Section 504, and Section 1557.” Please reference the EEOC website for the most up-to-date information.
Employer requirements and the ADA: When planning return to work, employers must meet all public safety codes, building codes, applicable laws, and security requirements. Specifically, as it relates to the public and employees, ADA requirements must not be compromised.
Concerns most often are centered on individuals who may be at higher risk for developing complications related to the coronavirus. This may also include older adults as identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Employers must address these concerns, which could encompass but are not limited to individuals with chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, lung or heart disease, and those who are immunocompromised or workers with residual symptoms as a result of having the virus. If medical provider’s recommendation is preventative in nature, a relationship between the disabling condition and the accommodation request should be provided by the employee (or their physician) to demonstrate that if infected by the coronavirus the employee could experience medical complications.
Consideration must be given to measures that reduce employee exposure to the virus as these requests are categorized as ADA-related. An employer must consider these types of requests and must engage in a dialogue with the employee to identify reasonable accommodations barring undue hardship to the employers
Accommodations: If it is determined that job accommodation is possible, the employer must do their utmost to implement modifications barring undue hardship. A flexible mindset is important to maintain a strong employer – employee relationship as these changes can be temporary in nature. To be eligible to receive workplace reasonable accommodations under the federal ADA, an individual must have a record of a disability, as defined by the ADA Amendments Act.