Thousands of Covid-Related EEOC Charges Cite Disability Bias

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Covid has left a big mess in its wake. And this article makes clear that the employment challenges continue for both employees and employers. As you continue to reopen your business and resume normal employee work, or as you re-engage with your coworkers at the office, we must continue to make sure the workplace is inclusive.

Among other Covid issues, “long-Covid,” or ongoing post-covid conditions, is now a very real consideration for an employer’s Americans with Disabilities Act analysis. It isn’t going away. The U.S. Government Accountability Office estimates that long-Covid “has potentially affected up to 23 million Americans, pushing an estimated 1 million people out of work.”(Click here for full article).

The medical community is still learning about long-Covid, plus its effects can be drastically different for different people. That makes it tough for employers to decipher when their Americans with Disabilities responsibilities kick in to protect an employee or job applicant struggling with long-Covid.

The ADA’s goals are simple, but its implementation in the workplace can be complicated. The ADA is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities. Under the ADA, workers with disabilities must have equal access to all benefits and privileges of employment that are available to similarly situated employees without disabilities.

However, protecting a disabled employee’s job involves a multi-layer analysis, and applicants or employees with disabilities are not automatically entitled to reasonable accommodations. The applicant/employee must be able to do their job with or without a reasonable accommodation. And, what constitutes a “reasonable” accommodation might be different in different workplaces, because a proposed accommodation must not present an undue hardship for the employer. So, long-Covid is a moving target and is largely a case-by-case analysis, which is why it is important to consult trusted counsel when deciding what to do.

My goal in starting Sarah Robb Law is to help make the workplace better, and whether you are an employer in need of ADA advice or an employee struggling with long-Covid in need of job protection, I am here to help.


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