|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.|
- 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.
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.
For more answers to your frequently asked questions, please select a topic below:
- Compensation and Tax Issues
- Disability Related Inquiries and Medical Examinations
- Employees with Symptoms or Exposure
- Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)
- Health coverage
- Hiring During the COVID-19 Pandemic
- Reduction in Force/WARN
- Retirement Plan Issues
- Short-term disability coverage
- Tax Credits Under FFCRA and the CARES Act
- Vacation, Paid Time Off, and Paid Sick Leave
- Wage and Hour
- Workers’ Compensation
- Workplace Safety