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Nathaniel Glasser Quoted in “Hospitals Must Consider Accommodation Requests in Pandemic”

Bloomberg Law Daily Labor Report

Nathaniel M. Glasser, Member of the Firm in the Employment, Labor & Workforce Management practice, in the firm’s Washington, DC, office, was quoted in the Bloomberg Law Daily Labor Report, in “Hospitals Must Consider Accommodation Requests in Pandemic,” by Paige Smith.

Following is an excerpt:

Doctors and nurses on the front lines of the novel coronavirus with health conditions of their own can request “reasonable accommodations” under the Americans with Disabilities Act, and employers must consider them despite the pandemic, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

That doesn’t necessarily mean managers have to immediately reshuffle critically needed workers in the midst of an unprecedented health crisis, though. The ADA requires accommodations that don’t exert an “undue hardship” on the employer, which moving a doctor or nurse to different duties arguably would be. Health care providers short on personal protective equipment might not have a way to accommodate an immunocompromised worker.

But hospitals and other health care settings can’t evade the law’s requirements by citing the crisis, the EEOC said in updated guidance, after receiving almost 500 virus-related employment law questions. …

Leaves as Alternative

Offering some form of short-term leave could be a temporary measure, management attorneys said.

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which was signed into law March 18, provides for paid sick leave and emergency family and medical leave. The Labor Department’s Wage and Hour division issued a final rule yesterday further detailing that up to 61 million workers could qualify for those protections. …

Telework could be a solution in a number of situations, Epstein Becker Green member Nathaniel Glasser said.

“What we’re seeing is a large increase in telehealth offerings,” he said. “If there’s an opportunity to shift some of the services to telehealth, I advise employers to look at that possibility.”