Surgeon adjusting hairnet.

This general guidance is based on U.S. federal employment law and the current medical assessment of COVID-19. State and local laws may apply, and medical assessments may change, resulting in different conclusions.


[od_accordion title=”Question 1. Is COVID-19 considered a “disability”?”]
Answer 1. Normally, no. Even under the amended (2009) ADA, the duration of COVID-19 will likely not be long enough to qualify as an ADA disability.  Complications from COVID-19 (e.g., pneumonia) may qualify as an ADA disability, triggering certain obligations for the employer (e.g., reasonable accommodation, etc.).  Employers should evaluate any applicable state mini-ADAs to ensure they do not contain different or additional requirements or provisions.[/od_accordion]

[od_accordion title=”Q2. If an employer treats an employee as if he or she possibly has COVID-19 (e.g., by forcing him or her to stay home until an incubation period has passed), is that a valid basis for a “regarded as disabled” claim?”]
A2.Likely not. The amended ADA makes clear that “regarded as” claims may not be brought for conditions that are “transitory and minor.” If COVID-19 in a specific case is not transitory and minor, then COVID-19 would become a different condition or complication, which might be considered an ADA disability.  That different condition or complication could, of course, give rise to a “regarded as disabled” claim.[/od_accordion]


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