Question of the Week: COVID-19 and ADA Reasonable Accommodations – week 4

Question of the Week: COVID-19 and ADA Reasonable Accommodations – week 3
August 31, 2020
Question of the Week: COVID-19 and ADA Reasonable Accommodations – week 5
September 17, 2020


Question of the Week



If an employee with an underlying health condition is afraid to come to work, and when you cannot accommodate them to work from home, how long would we need to accommodate them with leave? Normally we would medically separate someone who exhausts statutory leaves and who has an unknown leave duration. COVID-19 related leaves are unknown as we have no idea when the leave may be able to end.   


It’s advisable to be generous and offer as much unpaid and unbenefited leave as possible. At some point you may find that you cannot run your business with all your leaves, but we advise to not make these medical separation decisions just yet. We recommend that employers extend leaves for the next few months and reconsider the reasonableness of the leave as we get closer to winter, 2020. Some employers may decide they need to hire temporary replacement staff  or even allow leave.   Be sure to communicate with employees that there may not be a guaranteed job to return to. Your ability to do this may depend on your organization’s position control rules and abilities, but consider options you may never have considered before – and won’t have to consider again – to support employees during COVID-19 and to reduce your litigation risks for terminating disabled persons who are at higher risk due to the pandemic.

About the Shaw HR Consulting COVID-19 Disability Compliance Program

The program is being offered for free on the Shaw HRC website.

Program materials have been created to help employers manage accommodation requests during the COVID-19 pandemic related to disability — such as requests to work from home — at a time when organizations are asking employees to return to the workplace or requests for leave related to COVID-19.

The Shaw HR Consulting COVID-19 Disability Compliance Program includes:
  • General Guidelines
  • Video Training on the Materials
  • Sample Scripts
  • Template Letters and Forms
  • Flowchart
  • FAQ

The Program is designed to offer employers an ADA compliant framework to manage work from home requests during this unprecedented time.  As with all compliant programs, a consistent process is key to ensure your good faith efforts are documented.  Shaw is happy to provide its clients with this process, as we work together as an HR community to continue doing good work.  Click the button below or go to to download program materials.

All program materials should be considered samples and should not be acted on without legal advice. Organizations are encouraged to contact their legal counsel prior to relying on any materials in this program.


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