Long COVID may be a qualifying disability under ADA

Long COVID may be a qualifying disability under ADA

Some welcome news for employees now struggling with “long COVID”:  the EEOC has just announced that long COID may be a disability under the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) and Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act:  https://www.hhs.gov/civil-rights/for-providers/civil-rights-covid19/guidance-long-covid-disability/index.html

If long COVID substantially limits one or more of your major life activities, you may be entitled to an accommodation at work.

Examples of common symptoms of long COVID include:

  • Tiredness or fatigue
  • Difficulty thinking or concentrating (sometimes called “brain fog”)
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Headache
  • Dizziness on standing
  • Fast-beating or pounding heart (known as heart palpitations)
  • Chest pain
  • Cough
  • Joint or muscle pain
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Fever
  • Loss of taste or smell

Should you be experiencing these problems, you should seek an individual assessment to determine if you suffer substantial limits to a major life activity and then whether a reasonable accommodation may be necessary for you at work.  Such accommodations may include

  • Providing additional time for a worker who has difficulty concentrating
  • Providing assistance for a worker whose joint or muscle pain prevents them from performing a particular task
  • Modifying a policy to allow a person who experience dizziness when standing to be accompanied by their service animal that is trained to stabilize them
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