Mild COVID is not covered by the disability bias law, according to the US EEOC

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The seal of the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) can be seen on May 14, 2021 at its headquarters in Washington, DC, USA. REUTERS / Andrew Kelly / File Photo

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Dec. 14 (Reuters) – The U.S. agency, which enforces laws banning employers from disease discrimination, said Tuesday that mild COVID-19 cases typically don’t trigger redress for workers.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) said in a guide posted on its website that a COVID-19 case that is resolved within a few weeks is not a “disability” under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The ADA protects workers from being laid off or retaliated because of their disabilities. The law also requires employers to provide reasonable accommodation to enable workers with disabilities to do their jobs.

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The EEOC said in its guidelines that breathing problems and other impairments caused by COVID-19 can be covered by the ADA if they significantly limit a worker’s bodily functions or life activities such as walking and lifting.

“Long-term COVID” or the aftereffects of infection with COVID-19 lasting four weeks or more may also be covered by law if it leads to persistent respiratory and gastrointestinal problems, the commission said.

The guide comes as many states and cities impose stricter mask and vaccination requirements amid a winter surge in COVID-19 cases and the spread of the Omicron variant of coronavirus.

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Reporting by Daniel Wiessner in New York; Editing by Aurora Ellis

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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