(WKBN) – President Joe Biden said people who are dealing with long-term effects of COVID-19 will have access to disability protections.
Biden made the announcement on the 31st anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
He noted many Americans are still dealing with lingering symptoms, like breathing problems, brain fog, chronic pain and fatigue.
One woman, Georgia Linders, has been living with the after effects of COVID-19 every day.
She was diagnosed with chronic fatigue and a mild neurocognitive disorder.
She ended up going on short and long term disability before eventually having to leave her job.
There are two basic protections under the ADA: you can’t be discriminated against because you have that condition, and the employer has to provide reasonable accommodations so the employee can perform their job without creating an undue burden.
Linders is now in the process of applying for social security disability insurance. When it comes to ADA protection, her fear is the difficulty employees could face long term.
“I am worried about people that have inflammation in their brain and wouldn’t be able to keep up with their job,” Linders said.
To have protection, you must have something that qualifies as a disability, something that isn’t temporary and has lasted long enough that it affects a major life activity.
However, it varies from patient to patient because people who are long-haulers are affected in different ways.
“Under certain circumstances … a leave of absence for some specified period of time may be a reasonable accommodation. Under some circumstances, working from home or remotely may be a reasonable accommodation,” explained attorney Ric Selby.
Selby says a disability can be qualified as either physical or mental and this will affect both public and private employers.
He says employees can go to the EEOC and get recourse if they feel they haven’t been treated properly.