What a 打 private school in Florida can teach us about COVID-19 medical accommodations

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While warming up benching 315 lbs. at the gym yesterday, I listened to The Howard Stern Show.

And I heard Howard talking about a private school in Florida that — get this — will force students to stay home for 30 days after every COVID-19 vaccination dose they receive.

So, after I finished my workout and sprinted home seven miles, I searched the internet. Sure enough, I found this article from Marisela Burgos at Miami News 7.

(You may want to squeeze your head while reading because your brain is going to want to explode):

Parents of students at the [school] recently received a letter from its Chief Operating Officer that read in part, 夷f you are considering the vaccine for your … student(s), we ask that you hold off until the Summer when there will be time for the potential transmission or shedding onto others to decrease.

The letter also spelled out a quarantine rule for parents who still choose to vaccinate their children.

Because of the potential impact on other students and our school community, vaccinated students will need to stay at home for 30 days post-vaccination for each dose and booster they receive and may return to school after 30 days as long as the student is healthy and symptom-free.

If this feels a little like D矇j vu, it’s because I’ve written about this school before. In May, the school reportedly discouraged employees from getting the COVID-19 vaccine and implemented a new policy not to employ anyone vaccinated for COVID-19. It also had something to do with vaccine shedding.

So what does this absurdity have to do with COVID-19 accommodations?

The Americans with Disabilities Act requires employers to provide reasonable accommodation to qualified individuals with disabilities who are employees or applicants for employment, except when such accommodation would cause an undue hardship.

Occasionally, workers request to avoid getting vaccinated or wear masks. Sometimes employees provide a doctor’s note. But often, it’s just based on their say-so.

Ordinarily, employment lawyers encourage employer-clients to focus on the accommodation rather than the underlying disability. But, when an employee tells you he has a COVID-19-related disability — really, any disability — you don’t have to take his word on it.

Imagine getting an accommodation request from an employee who just got vaccinated. Without any medical support, the person requests 30 days off because of the potential impact that the vaccination may have on co-workers and the workplace generally.

GTHO, right!

Don’t mess around with COVID-19. If an employee claims to have a health-related issue, ask for a doctor’s note — something more than a link to a subreddit— to support a request for an accommodation.

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