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Employment Discrimination Claims: 2022 Update on Telework Accommodations, Long-Haul COVID, Mandate Class Actions

Recording of a 90-minute CLE video webinar with Q&A

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
This program is included with the Strafford All-Access Pass. Click for more information.

Conducted on Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Recorded event now available

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This CLE webinar will provide litigation counsel with advice based on recent employment discrimination claims. The panel will discuss claims for denial of telework accommodations, as well as the allegations by COVID-19 long haulers who seek disability recognition. The panel will address best practices and trial tactics for handling ADA claims in individual and class actions brought for vaccine mandates and exemption policies.


As more employees return to the office in 2022, employers will face tricky compliance questions--and, most likely, increased litigation--under one body of law in particular: the ADA and its state and local counterparts.

Before COVID-19, there was litigation over whether telework is a reasonable accommodation for employees with ADA-covered disabilities. Employers argued that physical presence at the worksite was an essential job function, and some courts were receptive. But the coronavirus pandemic has changed how and where many Americans work. Now, if employers refuse such requests, employees with disabilities may bring legal claims relying on ADA protection in support of their requests to continue working from home.

The EEOC has stated that "long-haul" COVID-19 may qualify as a disability. Long-haul COVID-19 involves symptoms that can last for weeks or even months following infection. Further EEOC guidance is forthcoming, but litigation alleging discrimination and failure to accommodate long-haul COVID-19 has already been filed. Courts are also wrestling with whether COVID-19 itself can even be considered a disability. In at least one case, a court denied an employer's motion to dismiss a claim that the employer had "regarded" the employee as disabled when it terminated her following a positive COVID-19 test.

Court rulings to date confirm that employers can lawfully mandate vaccines, as long as they provide exemptions for approved reasons of religion and disability. There are already active litigations challenging the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's authority to issue the Emergency Temporary Standard or its interplay with certain state and local laws prohibiting mandates. While disability cases often involve single plaintiffs, mandates and exemption policies apply to the broader workforce, making employers enforcing vaccine mandates more vulnerable to class claims, like the case pending over one company's policy of granting unpaid leave as an accommodation. Blanket policies denying future telework, for example, could also expose employers to class claims.

Listen as our expert panel discusses the trends in ADA discrimination cases that employers are likely to face in 2022. The panel will address best practices that employers should consider when revising employment policies in 2022 and beyond.



  1. ADA discrimination claims trends in 2022
    1. Telework accommodations
    2. Long-haul COVID-19
      1. COVID-19 as disability
    3. Vaccine mandates
      1. Exemptions
        1. Religious
        2. Disability
    4. Class actions
  2. Best practices


The panel will address these and other relevant topics:

  • When is a physical presence at the workplace an essential job function?
  • What constitutes a decision that long-haul COVID-19 is qualified as a disability?
  • When is COVID-19 a potential disability?
  • How can employers address accommodation requests for religious or disability exemptions to vaccine mandate policies
  • When are employers potentially at risk for class actions for disability claims?


Morris, Frank
Frank C. Morris, Jr.

Epstein Becker & Green

Mr. Morris leads the firm’s Employment, Labor and Workforce Management Practice in the Washington, D.C., office,...  |  Read More

Rasnick, Lauri
Lauri F. Rasnick

Epstein Becker & Green

Ms. Rasnick is an experienced litigator and trusted advisor to businesses and their executives, with a concentration in...  |  Read More

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