In it for the “Long Haul”
If you employ someone who is suffering from “Long COVID,” it’s important for you to know that s/he may be entitled to protection under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Individuals with Long COVID can experience new or continuing symptoms over weeks or months after being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. An extensive and varied list of symptoms are known to be associated with Long COVID.
A person with Long COVID considered to have a disability are those individuals whose “…condition or any of its symptoms is a ‘physical or mental’ impairment that ‘substantially limits’ one or more major life activities.”1
Because Long COVID is a condition that can cause lung damage, heart damage, neurological damage, or lingering emotional illness and other mental health conditions, it is mental or physical impairment. Because it can also affect activities like breathing, concentrating, communicating, sitting, standing, and walking, Long COVID may substantially limit a major life activity.
Not all cases of Long COVID will necessarily be considered a disability. An assessment is required to determine if an individual’s Long COVID condition substantially limits a major life activity.
If your employee’s Long COVID qualifies as a disability, s/he is entitled to the same ADA protections from discrimination as other disabilities.
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