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Can COVID Be A Disability Under the Americans With Disabilities Act?

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Although many people with COVID-19 get better within weeks, some people continue to experience symptoms that can last weeks or months after being infected. In light of significant health issues, it is important to know if COVID is a disability under federal law.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) updated its COVID-19 technical assistance on December 14, 2021,. adding a new section to clarify under what circumstances COVID-19 may be considered a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act.

EEOC's new questions and answers focus broadly on COVID-19 and the definition of disability under Title I of the ADA and Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act, which both address employment discrimination. The updates also provide examples illustrating how an individual diagnosed with COVID-19 or a post-COVID condition could be considered to have a disability under federal employment discrimination laws.

"This update to our COVID-19 information provides an additional resource for employees and employers facing the varied manifestations of COVID-19," said EEOC Chair Charlotte A. Burrows. "Like effects from other diseases, effects from COVID-19 can lead to a disability protected under the laws the EEOC enforces. Workers with disabilities stemming from COVID-19 are protected from employment discrimination and may be eligible for reasonable accommodations."

If you are an employee needing guidance as to whether you have a disability protected under the ADA, you should consult an experienced employment discrimination lawyer such as Kevin Leonard, Benjamin King, or Samantha Heuring at Douglas, Leonard & Garvey. The attorneys at Douglas, Leonard & Garvey can be reached at (603) 288-1403 or fill out our online contact form.