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As millions of Americans continue to get vaccinated against COVID-19, it seems as if there is finally a light at the end of the tunnel.  For others who have contracted COVID-19, however, they are not as fortunate.  Some of these folks face a more harrowing journey because their symptoms persist and may be debilitating for many months after their diagnosis with the disease.  This condition is dubbed “long COVID,” and its victims referred to as “long haulers.”  An estimated 11.78 million Americans are coping with long COVID, and many of these individuals may be your employees.  What protections do these long haulers have in the workplace?

This month, the EEOC announced that it recognizes that “long COVID” may qualify as a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in certain circumstances, agreeing with the Departments of Health and Human Services and Justice in their “Guidance on ‘Long COVID’ as a Disability Under the ADA, Section 504, and Section 1557.”

In my “Breaking Through The Noise: Labor & Employment Issues Post-Pandemic” segment, I explain the symptoms of “long COVID” and discuss issues employers may face under the ADA and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), when dealing with long haulers. Please listen to my segment (timestamp: 25:59-37:42), to check out the cartoon explaining what HR is likely going to experience and to join me as I put on my ADA/FMLA hats and answer the following questions:

  • How does long COVID differ from COVID-19?
  • What causes some people to have long COVID and not others?
  • What are the long-term effects of COVID-19?
  • How long can these long COVID symptoms last?
  • How common is this problem?
  • Why should this medical condition be of interest to you as an employer or HR professional?
  • Is long COVID a serious health condition under the FMLA?
  • Is long COVID a disability under the ADA?

Recently, the EEOC announced that technical assistance about COVID-19 and ADA “disability” in the employment context would be released in the coming weeks. So, stay tuned for updates and feel free to reach out to our team with any questions!