Individuals with severe COVID-19 symptoms that last for months—"COVID-19 long haulers"—may be covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), while those who recover quickly may not be covered by the ADA but might be protected by the FMLA. Employers should understand the scope of the laws' coverage and educate managers about the laws' possible application.
"Unfortunately, there is no bright-line test for determining whether someone is disabled for purposes of the act," said Leigh Jeter, an attorney with Michael Best in Chicago. "I encourage employers to err on the side of assuming that the employee may be covered under the ADA and then consider those resulting legal obligations." Removal of nonessential functions of the position might be a reasonable accommodation, she noted.
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