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Reasonable Accommodations at Work Due to COVID-19

Health & Benefits

This article discusses workplace accommodations in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The information on this website is not a substitute for, and does not replace the advice or representation of, a licensed attorney. Legal information is not the same as legal advice, which is the application of law to an individual's specific circumstances.   

I have a chronic health problem that makes me more vulnerable than my co-workers to COVID-19. What rights do I have to request to work from as a reasonable accommodation?

If you have a chronic health problem that makes you at higher risk for COVID-19, you have a right under the Americans with Disabilities Act to request to work from home as an accommodation. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has made clear through its website that employees with disabilities that put them at high risk from complications of the pandemic may request to work from home as a reasonable accommodation to reduce their chances of infection. 

This does not mean that your employer must grant the request. If your job cannot be performed at home (if you are a cashier, a cook, or a store manager, to name a few examples), your employer does not have to grant the request to work from home. In this case, you should consider requesting other accommodations that will help reduce the risk of infection such as masks, gloves, increased distance from co-workers, more frequent cleanings, different shifts, or hand sanitizer. These are examples of accommodations that employers should provide for employees with disabilities.

If your job can be performed from home, your employer should grant the request unless it imposes an undue hardship on the employer.  

Read Disability Discrimination at Work During COVID-19 from Disability Rights Texas for more information.

I work in a fast food restaurant and my employer is requiring all employees to wear latex gloves all the time, but I am allergic to latex. What rights do I have?

You have the right to request that your employer provide latex-free gloves. Unless it imposes an undue hardship on the business, your employer should provide latex-free gloves. You should be prepared for it to take some time, however, for the employer to be able to get the latex-free gloves, given the demand for protective gloves due to COVID-19. 

I work for a small employer. What rights do I have to work from home as a reasonable accommodation?

Only employers with 15 or more employees are required to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities. If you work for an employer with less than 15 employees, your employer is not required to provide any reasonable accommodations, including working from home. 

How do I submit a request for workplace accommodations?

Disability Rights Texas has created a Workplace Accommodation Request Tool to help you when you are Asking for an Accommodation at Work. For more information, review the Disability Rights Texas handout on Disability Discrimination at Work During COVID-19.