What are some accommodations employers must make when employees might be impacted by stress in the workplace?

Whether it’s the lack of social interaction, concern for one’s health or caring for children while working at the same time, employees may be impacted by the stress of the pandemic and performance may suffer.

Mental health issues can trigger disability protections, just like a physical disability. Past conditions may be exacerbated by this stress or sometimes new conditions may arise, and these issues may manifest in performance issues or excessively calling out.

Employers should have a good-faith interactive process and try to figure out how to help the employee perform their job duties — whether that means a modified schedule or removing the more tangential job duties they have.

If the company has one, employers should provide the employee with information about the Employee Assistance Program. If recommended by a medical provider, leave may be offered. However, because COVID-19 has burdened the health care industry, employers should keep in mind that it may take longer to get ordinary medical certifications.

Ultimately, employers should try to be flexible and creative in how they help their employees meet their job duties.

Read more in HRWatchdog’s Reasonable Accommodations During the COVID-19 Pandemic.

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