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Can I request accommodations for long COVID?

On Behalf of | May 15, 2023 | Employment Law, Workplace Discrimination |

Unfortunately, the impact of COVID can limit workers long after their initial infection has ended, and those employees may need to make adjustments to continue their work. What should workers know about modifications and accommodations for workers with long COVID?

What might reasonable accommodations look like for people with long COVID?

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), disabled workers are entitled to accommodations, as long as those accommodations are “reasonable” and do not involve significant difficulty or expense for the business.

The thousands of workers impacted by long COVID may experience a variety of symptoms like anxiety, shortness of breath, pounding heart, chest pain and difficulty focusing.  Some forms of accommodation for employees with long COVID could include:

  • Reassignment to a different position that is better suited to the employee’s needs
  • Modified work schedules, including moving to part-time work
  • Remote work or flexible scheduling
  • Modifying training, such as allowing the use of apps or notes to support training for those suffering from brain fog
  • Allowing additional rest breaks for employees with fatigue or difficulty breathing
  • Providing alternative lighting for employees that experience headaches

These accommodations may be available even if your disability is temporary.

What can I do if my employer refuses to accommodate my needs?

A denied accommodation can be particularly disheartening and may leave you feeling as though you need to choose between protecting your health and protecting your career. Thankfully, it is possible to push back against a denial. You may be able to find an alternative accommodation that suits both you and your employer, work toward resolution through an appeal or file a formal complaint.

It is important for you to understand your rights when requesting an accommodation in your workplace or pushing back against a denial. With the right legal guidance, you can explore your options and take steps to both support your needs and protect your career.