News Briefs Archive

What Are “Reasonable” COVID Accommodation Employee Requests?

Oct. 27, 2021

With the uptick of Covid-19/Delta variant over the summer, employers this fall started to see an increase in accommodation requests that would exempt employees from mandated vaccination requirements, according to Oberman Law Firm. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released guidance to help employers navigate the unique challenges facing employers. Below are some of the points that employers should keep in mind.

Employers can request information about why a COVID-19-related accommodation is needed as it relates to the employee’s job function.

For urgent requests, employers can provide temporary accommodations. In addition, employers may also provide a requested accommodation on an interim or trial basis, with an end date or a check-in date.

Below is a list of actions, which Oberman Law Firm reports may be considered best practices as employers navigate the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA):

  • Prepare comprehensive job descriptions for all positions that give detailed explanations of all essential functions of the role.
  • Engage in an open dialogue with the employee about the reasons why they believe that their requested accommodation will allow them to perform all of the essential functions of their position.
  • Ensure that any employee communication is being properly documented, including any modifications to the accommodation or follow-up discussions.
  • An employer does not necessarily have to give an employee their requested or preferred reasonable accommodation request.

Employers should have a designated HR employee to assist employees with their requests for accommodation. In addition, employers should provide proper training and support for the employees who are assigned to managing accommodation requests.

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