White House Names Long COVID a Disability Under Civil Rights Law

The White House released new guidance on long COVID, announcing that the condition could be legally considered a disability under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA).

Accommodations in workplace, school, and health care settings are necessary for people with long-haul COVID symptoms “so they can live their lives in dignity,” said President Joe Biden.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, long COVID will qualify as a disability under the ADA “if the person’s condition or any of its symptoms is a ‘physical or mental’ impairment that ‘substantially limits’ one or more major life activities.” The agency added that an “individualized assessment is necessary to determine whether a person’s long COVID condition or any of its symptoms” limits their abilities.

However, an employer is not required to provide an accommodation for an employee if it would cause an undue hardship or is too expensive, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which enforces the workplace anti-discrimination provisions of the ADA.

Source: Politico, July 26, 2021.