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March 8, 2022Advocacy Matters

COVID-19 and Employment Accommodations

Disability Matters with Joyce Bender

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

#AdvocacyMatters Segment

COVID-19 and Employment Accommodations

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It was two years ago that many businesses were forced to turn to remote work to maintain operations. Remote work, or telework, was an accommodation some people with disabilities had requested prior to the pandemic but were often denied due to outdated thinking on the part of managers related to productivity. The pandemic showed many businesses that remote workers are just as productive, if not more so, working from home.

As pandemic restrictions have eased, employers are asking their employees to report back to the office.

What is the current state of remote work and accommodations related to COVID-19?

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued guidance to employers on jobs that may only be performed at the workplace. The EEOC states in their guidance that there may be reasonable accommodations that could offer protection to an individual whose disability puts that person at greater risk from COVID-19 and who therefore requests such actions to eliminate possible exposure.

Navigating reasonable accommodations in the workplace can be hard. If you are in the position of now having to report to work but are worried about your disability and possible exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace, please reach out to one of the 57 Protection and Advocacy agencies across the U.S. Organizations just like Disability Rights Pennsylvania can review the current guidance from the EEOC, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and other civil rights laws and discuss your circumstances.

It is possible to receive a reasonable accommodation to continue remote work but as with any accommodation request, employers may ask questions to determine if you meet the definition of a disability under the ADA and discuss with you how the requested accommodation would assist you to keep working.

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If you think you may need an accommodation related to COVID-19, refer to the fact sheets released by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and call the P&A in your state for more information. You can find the complete list of P&As by visiting www.ndrn.org. As always, click on today’s #AdvocacyMatters segment at www.disabilityrightspa.org to find all the information we discussed today.

 

Links

Disability Rights Pennsylvania COVID-19 Employment Resources

EEOC Fact Sheet for Employees 

EEOC Technical Assistance on COVID-19, the ADA, Rehabilitation Act, and other EEO Laws 

EEOC Guidance Teleworking

National Disability Rights Network List of Protection and Advocacy Agencies 

Job Accommodation Network COVID-19 Resources