Virus Mental-Health Issues Complicate Legal Gray Area Over Leave
Labor and Employment Partner Phillip Schreiber was cited in a Bloomberg Law article discussing the legal uncertainty over leave as a reasonable accommodation. Psychological distress triggered by the coronavirus pandemic could force employers to address the legally murky area of whether leave is a reasonable accommodation. Whether a mental-health issue rises to the level of a disability covered under the ADA is a question that should be answered by a medical professional, not the employer. Workers can determine in consultation with a medical professional what kind of accommodation to request of an employer, and that begins a dialogue known as the interactive process.
“Sometimes, employees can be less direct about their situations, particularly if it’s mental health,” said Mr. Schreiber. “But what really triggers the employer’s obligation is if the employee comes to the employer and asks for an accommodation.”