Accommodations – Disability Laws- ADA/FEHA
For those who are ill, or afraid to come to work because exposure to the virus may exacerbate current health issues, there are a few other potential avenues of protection. Accommodations for a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act(ADA), and/or the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) may be appropriate. If someone were to contract the virus, or have an ongoing health condition that makes potential exposure to the COVID virus a significant health danger, a request for accommodations may be available. A worker could request to work remotely, or to take a finite amount of time off because of the illness. Whether or not that request would be considered a “reasonable accommodation” would depend on the hardship such a request would present on the business, and whether the worker could perform the essential functions of the position with the requested accommodation.
These requests are “protected,” meaning that if they are made in good faith, a worker may not lawfully be retaliated against for making the request. The request should also start what is known as the “good faith interactive process.” That is a process where the employer and employee work together to find a solution that works for both of them. The employer is not required to offer the requested accommodation, but must work with the employee to determine whether there is a potential accommodation that will allow the employee to perform the essential functions of their position without creating an undue hardship on the employer.
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