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COVID-19 & Federal ADA Employees: Everything You Should Know

COVID-19 & Federal ADA Employees: Everything You Should Know

With the spread of COVID-19 on the rise, federal ADA employees need to stay up to date on their rights and ADA modifications. As a federal employee, you have certain rights and protections under the ADA. Our federal employment lawyers explain everything you should know about COVID-19 and ADA modifications to ensure that you know how to protect those rights.

If you’re a federal employee who has been discriminated based on a disability, our team at Pines Federal is here to help you. We can thoroughly investigate allegations by federal agencies and help you determine if you have a viable claim. Due to the current health crisis, our team is happy to help clients virtually via video chat, phone, or email.

Don’t hesitate to call our nationwide federal employee disability lawyers today at (888) 898-9902 if you need legal guidance.

Does the ADA & Rehabilitation Act Continue to Apply?

The EEOC enforces workplace anti-discrimination laws, including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act, to ensure that employees have reasonable accommodations and rules. It’s important to know that the ADA rules continue to apply during the current health crisis, and they shouldn’t prevent employers from following guidelines made by the CDC or public health authorities.

ADA & COVID-19 Preparations

Amidst the Coronavirus outbreak, the ADA continues to protect federal employees from disability discrimination. There are three major ways in which pandemic preparation applies to the ADA. The first is that the ADA regulates employers’ disability-related questions and medical examinations for all applicants and employees. Second, the ADA doesn’t allow covered employers from excluding individual with disabilities from the workplace for health or safety reasons. They will only be allowed to do so if the employee poses a threat. Third, the ADA continues to require reasonable accommodations for workers with a disability during the pandemic.

What Questions Can a Federal Employer Ask Me?

The ADA doesn’t allow federal employers to make disability-related questions to employees, such as requesting medical examinations. This continues to apply during the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, employers are not allowed to ask ADA federal employees if their immune system is affected because this would be considered a disability-related question. However, employers are allowed to ask an employee if they have experienced symptoms of a cold or the flu because it doesn’t relate to their disability.

If an employer asks you to take a medical examination, you need to make sure that the examination is under the ADA. You need to ensure that the exam isn’t invasive and that it isn’t designed to reveal the existence of physical or mental impairment.

An employer can only ask for a medical examination if they have a reasonable belief that a medical condition will impair an employee’s ability to perform their basic duties or if an employee will pose a direct threat to others.

ADA & the Direct Threat of COVID-19

The CDC and public health authorities have stated that COVID-19 meets the direct threat standard. The CDC noted that the community spread of Coronavirus in the U.S. has become a significant risk. Therefore, If any employee is showing symptoms of COVID-19, an employer has the right to ask them to remain in at home to reduce the risk of getting other workers exposed.

Reasonable Accommodations with COVID-19

Since there has been a change in the work environment for many federal workers across the country, ADA federal employees are still required to have reasonable accommodation. Reasonable accommodation will ensure that they have an equal opportunity to perform the job’s essential functions and benefits. However, if a particular accommodation results in an undue hardship, an employer is not required to provide accommodations. Undue hardships are significantly challenging to accommodate or expensive for the employer.

If you believe that your employer isn’t following ADA regulations during the COVID-19 outbreak, you may be entitled to seek compensation. Contact our national federal employee disability attorneys today at (888) 898-9902 to schedule a virtual consultation.

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