On April 2, 2020, Mike Volpe was quoted in Bloomberg Law regarding requests for “reasonable accommodations” under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) during the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the article, doctors and nurses on the front lines of the novel coronavirus with health conditions of their own can request “reasonable accommodations” under the ADA, and employers must consider them despite the unprecedented health crisis.
“All rules are not off even in a pandemic situation,” said Volpe.
That doesn’t necessarily mean managers have to immediately reshuffle critically needed workers in the midst of an unprecedented health crisis. The ADA requires accommodations that don’t exert an “undue hardship” on the employer.
Offering some form of short-term leave could be a temporary measure. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which was signed into law March 18, provides for paid sick leave and emergency family and medical leave. The Labor Department’s Wage and Hour division issued a final rule further detailing that up to 61 million workers could qualify for those protections.
Hospitals should look to that legislation first to see if an immunocompromised individual qualifies for paid leave, and weigh their own policies and practices under the Family and Medical Leave Act, Volpe said.