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How Organizations Can Accommodate Employees With Long COVID

The virus' longer-term effects persist

Although the federal public health emergency for COVID-19 expired on May 11, the effects of the virus haven't gone away for many people.

According to a November 2022 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services U.S. Department of Health and Human Services report, between 7.7 million and 23 million Americans have long COVID and experience a wide range of symptoms (e.g., fatigue that interferes with daily life, difficulty breathing, persistent cough, brain fog) that can last weeks, months or years. In 2021, the federal government clarified that long COVID could be considered a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

“Long COVID is just like any other disability that an employee may have that an employer needs to accommodate,” said Julia Judish, special counsel at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP. “Unlike cancer or a multiple sclerosis diagnosis, long COVID isn’t a single condition, and it may take a while for an employee with long COVID to get the diagnosis.

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