Question of the Week: COVID-19 and ADA Reasonable Accommodations – week 6

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Question of the Week



We are getting so many requests, how do we handle them all?


First, we recommend your organization understand that if you are moving to bring employees back to the workplace, you may be ahead of the “return-to-physical-work curve” in your community or industry, and likely receive more requests as you are doing something that the community is not ready for or may be comfortable with. Second, be sure to communicate your return-to-physical-work plan sufficiently so that your employees have a higher level of confidence that what you have done, will keep them safe. Third, ensure you have met with your organization’s leadership to establish if your return-to-work philosophy is flexible and open to work from home or if your organization is “return-focused,” meaning you want as many bodies back in the workplace as possible.  It is important that whatever your stated philosophy is, that your organization is prepared to implement it consistently – same rules for all divisions, departments and wage earners.

Once you establish your goals for returning persons to the physical workplace, you can develop the process that you will need to make that happen. If you are return focused, you will likely want to require medical documentation to support requests and will need to determine if work from home is allowable only for persons who can do their full jobs, or if you will allow it for persons who can only do part of their job or “light duty.” Every organization has to determine what the right philosophy is for them – we encourage you to ensure that your COVID-19 response is consistent with your overall company culture. If you have always been generous as an employer – don’t stop now.

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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