COVID-19 Temporary Flexible Workplace Arrangements
This process encompasses both ADA reasonable accommodation requests and flex-work adjustment requests.
As part of the institutional response to COVID-19, Lane Community College is committed to supporting employees impacted by COVID-19. Please refer to the LCC COVID-19 website for current, accurate information regarding safety precautions on campus related to COVID-19. Departments may need to shift quickly between in-person and remote services as conditions and health authority guidance changes.
We recognize that there may be some employees with medical disabilities that require temporary reasonable accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as a result of COVID-19. Some employees who self-identify as having an increased risk of severe outcome from COVID-19 infection as determined by the current CDC guidance may have a medical condition that rises to the level of a disability under the ADA.
The College has implemented an expedited process to consider reasonable accommodation requests for ADA-qualified employees who are impacted by COVID-19. For situations where employees have increased risk conditions that are determined not to be ADA disabilities, have family members at home with serious health risks, or have concerns about childcare/school closures, flex-work and other workplace arrangements may be available. The ADA reasonable accommodation process is not intended to address employees who test positive for COVID-19 or have COVID-19 symptoms as such situations are covered by College leave policies and procedures, as well as the applicable union contract or management working conditions document.
Request for Reasonable Accommodation Due to Disability
An ADA reasonable accommodation is a modification of job duties or the work environment that enables a qualified individual with a disability to attain the same level of performance or to enjoy equal benefits and privileges of employment available to a similarly-situated employee without a disability. Examples might be the use of personal protective equipment (e.g. face masks, gloves or gowns), shift changes, or changes to work stations to limit exposure to others (e.g. enclosed office or teleworking). Reasonable accommodations are granted on a case-by-case basis after proper analysis of the documented disability, the necessity of the accommodation and to ensure the modification does not cause an undue hardship (e.g. significant difficulty or expense) on the College.
To request a temporary reasonable accommodation, the process is as follows:
- Submit a Flexible Workplace ADA Accommodation Request. A Medical Questionnaire, or current letter from your Healthcare Provider, is also required. If submitting a letter in lieu of the Medical Inquiry Form, the letter should offer limited medical information that verifies your medical condition, the manner and severity of the impact of COVID-19 on that condition as it relates to your employment and the ability to return to campus, and a brief rationale why the measures (masks, environmental controls, social distancing and tracing) put in place at the College would not be sufficient protections as a means of an accommodation.
- The ADA Coordinator, or designee, will review the reasonable accommodation request and medical documentation to determine if the individual qualifies as a person with a disability under the ADA; and,
- The ADA Coordinator, or designee, will engage in an interactive process as necessary with the employee and supervisor(s) to discuss accommodations and employee's essential work functions.
For situations where employees have increased risk conditions that are determined not to be ADA disabilities, and/or where social distancing, PPE, or something that comparably reduces exposure risk would constitute the accommodation or adjustment, the ADA Coordinator, or designee, will work with the employee and supervisor(s) to determine if flex-work and other workplace adjustments are available.
Flex-Work Requests for Personal Reasons (not related to an employee's medical condition)
While the College will give work accommodation/adjustment priority to requests related to an employee's medical condition, we recognize there are also requests not related to an employee's health that should be reviewed. These might include concerns about childcare/school closures, the health of others in the home, a personal concern about working on-campus or the need for specific protective equipment to perform a job.
If you are seeking a flex-work adjustment not related to your personal health, please complete the Flexible Workplace Arrangement Request. For these requests a verification of medical necessity is not required.
Notification, Timing and Factors Being Considered
In order to allow for appropriate planning for instructional workloads and classroom schedules, accommodation requests from those who provide or support teaching will be reviewed first. Our first priority is employees with medical disabilities, but we may adjust work for those who have health conditions that do not rise to a disability. All requests should be submitted using the Flexible Workplace ADA Accommodation Request or the Flexible Workplace Arrangement Request process. ADA accommodation and flex-work adjustment determinations will be communicated as soon as possible. Other requests, including serious health risks for family members at home, will be considered after employee health circumstances.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Why has the College started a new COVID-19 Temporary Flexible Workplace Accommodation Process?
In compliance with state and federal law, the College has a long-standing process to consider requests for reasonable accommodations which allow those with disabilities to perform the essential functions of their job. The new COVID-19 accommodation process allows for expedited consideration of accommodation requests, including those to work remotely. For situations where employees have increased risk conditions that are determined not to be disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and/or where social distancing, PPE, or something that comparably reduces exposure risk would constitute the accommodation or adjustment but the employee is requesting to work remotely, the new process will allow Human Resources, managers, deans and departments to work quickly with the employee to determine if flex-work and other workplace adjustments are available. All requests for reasonable accommodations and flex-work adjustments are reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
- Is there a deadline for submitting COVID-19 workplace adjustment requests?
The College accepts ADA accommodation requests and flex-work adjustment requests at any time, but employees are asked to submit requests based on possible COVID-19 conditions as early as possible.
- What is the difference between temporary disability accommodations and flex-work adjustments?
Temporary disability accommodations are for those employees with a medical condition which, based on medical documentation, rises to a "disability" as defined by the ADA who are requesting a reasonable accommodation because of their disability.
Temporary flex-work adjustments are for situations where employees have increased risk conditions based on current CDC guidance but that are determined not to be disabilities under the ADA and/or where social distancing , PPE, or something that comparably reduces exposure risk would constitute the accommodation or adjustment. They are also for situations not related to an employee's health such as concerns about childcare/school closures, the health of others in the home, or a personal concern about working on-campus.
- Current CDC guidance lists medical conditions and other factors which are considered as having some degree of increased risk. Does that mean I have a disability?
Not necessarily. Under the ADA, those that have qualified disabilities must have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. While the increased risk conditions could rise to this level, some, such as age or pregnancy, would not qualify as a disability without some other associated conditions. This analysis is conducted on a case-by-case basis. Those who fall in increased risk categories but do not have a qualifying disability are still eligible to be considered for flex-work arrangements.
- Is having a diagnosis or symptoms of COVID-19 an ADA disability that would warrant accommodation or flex-work adjustments?
No. Those who have either been diagnosed with, or are experiencing COVID like symptoms, should follow current guidance with regard to self-quarantining and College process which covers these situations. These situations are not covered by the Temporary COVID-19 Flexible Workplace process.
- My healthcare provider's documentation states that my underlying medical condition can be accommodated by social distancing or the proper use of personal protective equipment. Does that disqualify me from an accommodation?
Such documentation does not disqualify you from an accommodation, but clarifies that your medical provider believes that you are able to work in a place where social distancing is maintained and PPE is properly used. In such circumstances, social distancing, PPE or something that comparably reduces exposure risk would constitute the accommodation or adjustment. The College may include enhanced PPE or additional environmental controls as further accommodations.
We understand many faculty and staff may still feel uncomfortable interacting face-to-face. If your division or department has a need for additional employees to work remotely (to meet academic need for remote instruction or to help with campus density limits), you might be assigned to remote instruction/work for reasons unrelated to qualified disability. Accommodations and adjustments can take a number of forms, and working 100% remotely is not the only option.
When your healthcare provider is indicating that the appropriate accommodation is either a workplace that allows for social distancing or other accommodation that would allow for steps to minimize exposure, this medical opinion needs to guide the accommodation.
- If I don't have a medical condition or medical reason can I still request a flex-work adjustment?
Yes. While the College will give priority to those with disabilities under the ADA and to the employees who have other non-qualifying medical conditions, requests for flex-work for other personal reasons (not based on a compromised health condition) can still be made using the Flexible Workplace Adjustment Request.
- If I have successfully worked remote prior to the phased reopening and prefer it to continue, why can't I just remain working remotely?
The College's plan includes both in-person and remote instruction and our commitment is to provide our students with in-person, face-to-face learning to the greatest extent that we safely can. While there is certainly a place in our curriculum for remote instruction, our essential work as educators, and supporting the educational mission, happens on LCC campuses and in the classroom.
Some of our colleagues have serious medical conditions which are qualified disabilities that may not allow them to safely work on LCC campuses even with the extensive safety and cleaning protocols that the College is implementing to reduce the risk of possible exposure. If these colleagues are able to conduct their work remotely, we will ensure their assignments include online work. Some colleagues who might prefer to work remotely may need to deliver face-to-face instruction and/or services; therefore, will need to be on campus to provide that in-person support.
The College will protect the health of our entire community with extensive engineering controls (e.g. HVAC), sanitizing and enforcement of mask requirements and social distancing.
- Is an employee entitled to an accommodation under the ADA when they live with or care for a family member who is at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19?
No. The ADA is only applicable to employees of the College and accommodations cannot be put in place based on the medical condition of a non-employee. However, employees who may have concerns about those whom they live with or care for may apply for flex-work arrangements.
- How can I request remote work based on my concern to protect a family member with a disability or medical condition, or who may be at an increased risk from potential COVID-19 exposure?
Although the ADA does not qualify this circumstance as a disability for an employee, those who are concerned about immunocompromised or at-risk family members should still follow the COVID-19 Temporary Flexible Workplace request process. The College hopes to provide faculty and staff with flex-work adjustments when possible to ensure the safest possible work conditions for our community. Please submit a Flexible Workplace Arrangement Request.
- Can I work with my manager or division dean outside of the COVID-19 Temporary Flexible Workplace request process for continuing to work remotely?
It is critically important that all faculty and staff use the COVID-19 Temporary Flexible Workplace Adjustment process to ensure priority, and equitable, flexible workplace adjustments. The College is still working to determine how much instruction and service will occur remotely. Remote work assignments may be needed as reasonable accommodations for colleagues who have ADA disabilities that will not otherwise allow them to work on campus. If those remote work assignments have been promised to faculty and staff who do not need accommodation, we may not be able to fulfill those promises because the College must first meet our obligations to provide accommodations to those with qualified disabilities.
- Who determines whether my request for reasonable accommodation or flex-work adjustment will be granted?
Human Resources will conduct an initial evaluation of all requests and gather necessary information. After an initial determination as to whether a request requires an accommodation or is eligible for flex-work, additional steps will be followed.
For those requiring accommodation under ADA, the ADA Coordinator, or designee, will engage in the interactive process with both the employee and the manager or division dean.
Requests that do not fall under the ADA accommodation process (flex-work requests) will be referred to the manager or division dean for determination of an appropriate solution.
- Where can I find additional information on the College's COVID-19 safety procedures and reopening plan?
The College's Coronavirus Information (COVID-19) website has this information, as well as additional links and resources, including the daily health assessment form that needs to be completed by staff prior to coming on campus.