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COVID-19 Reasonable Accommodation Guidance

All Members,

The Executive Order (E.O.) issued September 9, 2021, states that "it is necessary to require COVID-19 vaccinations for all Federal employees, subject to such exceptions as required by law.” The laws referenced are the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and, for religious beliefs, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.These laws require exceptions under a reasonable accommodation criterion.

Although reasonable accommodations were not specifically addressed in the E.O., the order does allow agencies to grant exceptions to individual employees under the ADA and Title VII. Please note these "exceptions” are potential exemptions from mandatory vaccination.

An employee with a disability (physical or mental impairment including medical condition), with medically supportive evidence, would be able to request a reasonable accommodation under the ADA.

Additionally, an employee who opposes the vaccination based on deeply held religious beliefs can seek a reasonable accommodation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

We encourage any member who may fit the above categories to make sure they apply for the reasonable accommodations with their agency.

In a letter to President Biden last week, FLEOA urged the administration to clarify the reasonable accommodations available under law and how agencies may ensure eligible employees receive their accommodations. FLEOA also critiqued the order generally and pushed the administration to return to their previous posture of allowing employees to choose testing rather than mandating vaccination.

For EEOC guidance on reasonable accommodations, please visit: https://www.eeoc.gov/employers/small-business/reasonable-accommodation-policy-tips

Again, you must fit the criterion for either of the above reasonable accommodations and supply the proper supporting evidence. Under the law, if you follow these steps, you may be eligible for an accommodation through your agency.

We will continue to push out resources and updated information as the situation evolves.