Last month, Governor Polis issued guidance for employers as well as public places regarding equal opportunities and accommodations due to the Corona virus. The guidelines discuss non-discrimination and reasonable accommodations for those with with disabilities. “Vulnerable Individuals”, people with Covid-19, and those who have been exposed to Covid-19. The governor’s recommendations provide clarity to employers during this time.
Below is a synopsis of the governor’s guidelines.
Employees with Disabilities
Employers still must uphold their obligations under the American with Disabilities Act. Employer’s must make reasonable accommodations allowing folks with disabilities to continue to work. Employers may be excused from making accommodations if doing so would create an undue hardship. If an accommodation is significantly difficult to put into place the governor recommends doing so on a temporary basis.
Some COVID-19 specific accommodations recommended by the governor’s office are:
Changes to the work environment reducing the chances of an individuals exposure. Such as one-way aisles, Plexiglas, or other barriers to limit an individual’s exposure.
Employers must require employees to wear protective gear and follow infection control practices. If however, these practices are not sensible if an individual uses wheelchair, can’t lip read through a mask, or is allergic to latex, then the employer should nonetheless make all reasonable efforts to accommodate the individual.
On the other hand, it is the responsibility of the employee to notify the employer of an accommodation relating to a medical reason. The employee may make the request in writing or verbally.
Colorado’s Stay-at-Home order defines Vulnerable Individuals as those who are:
- Over 65;
- have a chronic lung disease or moderate of severe asthma;
- have a serious heart condition;
- determined by a health care provider to be high risk.
Guidance to employers is to accommodate these individuals as much as possible and makes clear that they can not be forced to work.
Additionally, employers may not postpone or withdraw a job offer if an individual is vulnerable. Consider telework or discuss with the individual postponement of their start date.
Screening, Symptoms and Confirmed Covid-19
Employers must screen all employees for symptoms of COVID-19. All employee medical records included a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis must remain confidential and kept with the employee’s medical records.
If a customer is not wearing a face covering the business owner has the right to ask the individual to leave the establishment. The only exception is if a medical condition exists. In instances such as this, the governor’s guidance suggests other accommodations for patrons such as delivery or curbside pickup.
This article is for educational purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice about your case or situation. There may be exceptions to the information outlined above. Please consult an attorney if you have specific questions about your business.Follow me on social media: