Teleworking as a Reasonable Accommodation During A Pandemic
On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that COVID-19 was an international pandemic. The President of the United States declared a national state of emergency on March 13, 2020 concerning the pandemic.
As a consequence of this pandemic, international, federal, state, and local health officials have strongly encouraged that that individuals engage in teleworking as a part of the "social distancing" approach to combatting the spread of the virus. However, not all employers had headed this call for social distancing and instead have required employees to physically come to work.
Employees with disabilities that put them at high risk of harm if exposed to the virus are rightly concerned. However, under the Americans with Disabilities Act and Rehabilitation Act, these employees have the right to request teleworking as a reasonable accommodation for their disabilities.
As recently updated guidelines from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission state, "employees with disabilities that put them at high risk for complications of pandemic influenza may request telework as a reasonable accommodation to reduce their chances of infection during a pandemic." The EEOC emphasizes that employers must provide such reasonable accommodations unless they demonstrate undue hardship.
Contact the attorneys at Clark Law Group, PLLC if you need assistance navigating reasonable workplace accommodations in light of COVID-19.
Denise Clark, Esq at [email protected]
Jeremy Greenberg, Esq at [email protected]