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Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Accommodation and Compliance: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Introduction

Coronavirus (COVID-19) related workplace issues vary widely. JAN does not provide public health, safety, or legal advice, but does offer Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance assistance and practical job accommodation strategies for returning individuals with disabilities to work during the COVID-19 pandemic. These strategies can enable workers with disabilities to return to the work environment, work at home, or access leave when other accommodations are not reasonable.

JAN Resources

Employers should refer to COVID-19 related technical assistance guidance provided by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) when making disability-related inquiries or requiring medical examinations, analyzing direct threat and safety issues, and engaging in the interactive process under the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), and other relevant federal laws enforced by the EEOC. 

EEOC Resources

When addressing safety concerns during the pandemic, employers should make decisions based on facts, what is actually happening, and not speculation. Under the ADA, employers do not have to ignore safety concerns, but they must be real. So, employers should determine what’s really going on. A good starting point regarding workplace safety is guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), state and local public health authorities, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). These resources offer extensive guidance related to various industries, jobs, and environments, which can be useful when exploring COVID-19 related accommodation solutions for workers with disabilities.

Safety-Related Resources

Individuals who are unable to work for a reason related to COVID-19 might be able to access leave or unemployment insurance benefits. Leave might be available as an accommodation under the ADA if a disability prevents an employee from working, if other accommodations cannot be provided, and barring undue hardship. COVID-19 related leave might also be available under other federal laws, like the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), or under state and local requirements.

Leave and Unemployment Related Resources

Individuals with disabilities who own a small business or are self-employed might be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. JAN offers self-employment and small business development expertise on a case-by-case basis.

Small Business and Self-Employment Resources

As COVID-19 related workplace issues evolve, JAN will continue to develop practical guidance and resources. For one-on-one guidance on job accommodations and ADA technical assistance, please contact JAN.

Situations and Solutions:

Events Regarding Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)