While everyone is running around in face masks and dousing themselves in hand sanitizer, there is a population of individuals who are literally fearing for their lives when it comes to exposure to the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Individuals who are immunocompromised or have a weakened immune system are at an increased risk not just during flu season, but especially during outbreaks such as COVID-19. Offering preventative reasonable accommodations during the Coronavirus outbreak is one way to help protect your most at-risk employees. Here’s why.
Immunocompromised and COVID-19
According to the NIH, the definition of immunocompromised is “Having a weakened immune system. Patients who are immunocompromised have a reduced ability to fight infections and other diseases.”
Your immune system is designed to protect you from infection, but certain conditions cause a deficiency in your immune system’s ability to fight.
There are many different conditions that can cause someone to become immunocompromised which include:
- Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
- Autoimmune Diseases
- Chemotherapy and Cancer
- Congenital Disorders
- Medications that inhibit the immune system.
A person with a weakened immune system is more susceptible to infection, likely to get sick more frequently and take longer to recover from an illness.
While much is still unknown about COVID-19, the CDC suggests that it is spread through close contact with an infected person, respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes, and even touching a surface that has the virus on it.
Top 3 Reasonable Accommodations During the Coronavirus Outbreak
Immunocompromised individuals are protected under the 2008 ADA Amendment Act (“major bodily functions, such as functions of the immune system…”) and can be offered reasonable accommodations during this outbreak, not just if they get sick, but also as preventative measures.
These top three reasonable accommodations will not only help to protect the employee and minimize their exposure to getting sick, they will also help the employer to minimize sick days and keep the employee’s focus on being productive at work rather than the fear of getting sick.
The three preventative accommodations here focus on minimizing exposure to crowds, and subsequently germs and the COVID-19.
While this is vital in larger cities with larger populations and public transportation, the application is applicable anywhere in the country.
1. Work from Home
The gold standard of preventative reasonable accommodations is the ability for an immunocompromised employee to work from home during the outbreak crisis. This will help to minimize exposure to crowds and germs both at work and on public transportation. It will also help to keep the employee focused on the mission and not the fear of getting sick.
2. Flexible Hours
If working from home isn’t an option, offer your immunocompromised employee flexible hours. If they can stagger their workday and not commute on public transportation during rush hour, this will help to lessen their exposure to crowds and germs.
3. Onsite Parking
If there is an option, offer onsite parking on a temporary basis until the threat of COVID-19 is over. The less your immunocompromised employees are on public transportation and/or around crowds, the better.
Coronavirus is causing widespread fear and panic all over the world. But with these three preventative reasonable accommodations, you can do your part to help keep your immunocompromised employees safe and healthy.
Are you Inspired?
Be sure to download your FREE Resource Guide and Thrive in the Workplace with Autoimmune Disease!
This article and website contain affiliate links and ads which means I may receive a commission if you click a link and make a purchase. Any information on this website is not meant to treat or diagnose any medical condition. Please consult your doctor for medical advice. We believe in conscious capitalism and the American Dream. Full Disclosure Policy, Legal Clause, and Terms and Conditions – Click HERE.