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Tag: eeoc

Returning to Work

An Employee’s Guide from CCDC

  1. Questions to Ask
  2. Talk to Your Employer
  3. Reasonable Accommodations
  4. Other Options
  5. Reporting an Unsafe Work Environment
  6. Discrimination
  7. Resources

CCDC has received questions about returning to work as it relates to people with disabilities.   Our state has a return to work guidance that is relevant to unemployment.   The EEOC has also issued guidance about returning to work.  It is in Section G: Return to Work.

People with disabilities and those we live with have vastly different experiences and needs.  Therefore, this is not intended to be directive or legal guidance.  This document should help people think about what questions they need to ask of themselves and their employers.   


Questions to Ask

  • Do you have a disability?  
    • The ADA defines disability as a substantial impairment in a major life activity.  
    • People who are considered disabled or have a record or history of disability are also covered under anti-discrimination laws. 
  • If yes, does your particular disability make you vulnerable or at risk if you get COVID-19?  
    • Possible disabilities that put you at increased risk include respiratory disabilities, heart conditions, neurological impairments, and chronic illnesses.   
  • Do you live with someone with a disability? 
    • If yes, does that disability make the person vulnerable or at risk if they get COVID-19?
  • Are you over 60?
  • Do you live with someone over 60?

Answering “Yes” to any of these questions means you have additional things to think about with regard to returning to work.   


Talk to Your Employer

OSHA Guidance for Employers

Questions to ask yourself and your employer:

  • Can my job be done remotely?   
    • If you have a disability, you could request this as a reasonable accommodation.   
    • If you do not have a disability yourself, there is no requirement to allow work from home, but governments, including the state of Colorado, are strongly encouraging this practice. 
  • Is my employer following COVID guidance issued by OSHA?  
    • Check on your employer’s return to work policies and workplace safety policies.  
  • Do I need to interact with the public as part of my job?  
    • If yes, is my employer mandating mask use?  
  • Do I have a safe way to report violations of company policy (such as people not wearing masks)?

Reasonable Accommodations

If you ask for a reasonable accommodation, remember:

  • You need to ask –your employer cannot read minds.  
    • Make your request in writing and explain the connection between your disability and the requested change.  
    • For example, I have a neurological disability and weakened lung capacity and request to work at home. Working from home reduces my exposure to other people and reduces my risk of contracting COVID-19.
  • Your employer may have a specific form they want you to use.  
    • Use their way unless you have a disability-related reason not to.  
    • There is no sense in arguing about that issue.
  • Your employer will engage in an interactive process.  
    • It may be give-and-take on both sides.   
    • Be solution-focused.
  • You still need to be able to do the essential functions of your job.  
    • For example: If you are a customer service representative and the system can’t forward calls to your home phone, then an essential function of your job requires you to be in the office.

Other Options

If there is no way to accommodate you in your position consider:

  • Asking if there are other positions for which you qualify.
    • If so, ask for a transfer when there is an opening.
  • Ask how much stored up sick or vacation time you have. 
    • Likely it will not be enough to get through the remainder of the pandemic, but you can use it while you figure out your other options.
  • You MAY be eligible for unemployment
    • To maintain your eligibility for benefits, you must complete regular work search activities that help you return to work.  

Reporting an Unsafe Work Environment

  • If you fear your workplace is not safe and your management has not addressed concerns, you can look into the recently signed  Whistleblower Protection Public Health Emergencies Act
    • This new law offers significant protections for workers (employees and independent contractors) from discrimination or retaliation by their employers. 
    • Workers are protected from discrimination or retaliation for raising concerns about workplace safety or health during a public health emergency.
    • Workers are also protected when wearing their PPE at work. 
    • The full text of the law and more information is here: https://leg.colorado.gov/bills/HB20-1415.

Discrimination

If you feel you have faced discrimination, see what your employer’s internal grievance process is.  If you are a member of a union, they should be able to help you.  Otherwise, if you want to file a discrimination complaint you must submit an administrative complaint with a government agency.  

You can go to the EEOC or the state Civil Rights Division if you believe you have faced disability discrimination.


Resources

EEOC Pandemic Guidance

Sate of Colorado Guidance

Guidance for Employers and General Public

 

Resources

There is no weakness in asking for help. After all, life is a group effort.

When our situations and way of life changes so dramatically and quickly, we might not know where to go to find help. Others can be afraid or humiliated at finding they suddenly can’t survive on their own.

No one is expected to do everything by themselves. These resources are available for people who find themselves in a difficult spot. Reach out via phone or the internet and find out if you are eligible for assistance.

If you have a resource to share or find an error, send it via email to covid@ccdconline.org.

Amazon offers its Prime service for a 50% discount if you have an EBT or Medicaid Card. Follow this link and check the details. Prime offers many upgrades and extras than its regular free service. (Including free shipping for many items.)  And if you shop under smile.amazon.com and choose the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition, every purchase generates a small donation to your favorite charity.


The Action Center – near Colfax and Wadsworth in Lakewood is currently providing food to anyone who needs it (even if they live outside Jefferson County).

Benefits in Action is offering free food boxes with free delivery for anyone unable to get groceries and live in Denver or Jefferson County. Visit www.biaction.org or call 720-221-8354 to arrange delivery.

Care Coordinators COVID Resource List – This list contains a number of excellent links and resources unemployment, utilities, AA meetings, and more. In order to help protect our community from the spread of COVID-19, we are offering modified services of food and mail services only. Reservations to pick-up food are required, please call 720.215.4850.

Center for Health Progress Health Care Resource Guide for the Uninsured (English) or (Spanish)  – A Health Care Resource Guide that Center for Health Progress put together to support people, particularly immigrants without documentation, to find health care at this moment.

CHANDA CENTER FOR HEALTH – is a direct services provider that includes acupuncture, massage, chiropractic, adaptive exercise, physical therapy, adaptive yoga, care coordination, behavioral health, primary care, and dental care. Some services are provided at the Chanda Center for Health and some at provider locations nationwide.  Integrative therapies promote wellness and healing for acute and chronic conditions caused by physical disabilities. Better health outcomes and lower medical bills galvanized our pursuit of systemic change to have integrative therapies covered by Medicaid. They are offering some free classes that can be found through Chanda’s page directly.

Colorado Center on Law and Policy: COVID-19 resources for immigrant families – To Colorado’s immigrants — whether you had access to the legal immigration process or not — you matter, your families matter and your contributions to society matter. But even as we advocate for solutions to those injustices, and there are resources for you and your families.

Colorado Emergency Childcare Collaborative – Approximately 80,000 emergency workers have young children and are now without child care.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau – Protecting your finances during the Coronavirus Pandemic – Providing consumers with up-to-date information and resources to protect and manage their finances during this difficult time as the situation evolves.

Denver Emergency Food Access – Information about School and Student Meals, Denver Parks and Recreation Center Meals (Tasty Food), SNAP & WIC Benefits in Denver, Food Assistance at Pantries, and Food in Quarantine.

Denver Food Pantries Listings – including location, hours of operation, and services provided.

Denver Human Services – All Denver Human Services facilities will be closed to the public beginning Thursday, March 19, 2020, until further notice.  See how to access our services online or call us at 720-944-4DHS (4347) for assistance.
COVID-19 Information
Cancellations, Closures, and Postponements
Support Services
Donating and Volunteering
Local Preparation and Coordination
News and Media
Emergency Services for People with Disabilities
Parking Enforcement Updates

Denver Property Tax Relief Program – Provides a partial refund of property taxes paid, or the equivalent in rent, to qualifying Denver residents.

DRCOG Aging and Disability Resources Information and Assistance line:
303-480-6700 – Provides information, assistance, and advocacy over the phone or email to understand your benefits and connect you with local providers.

Emergency Response Desktop Suite – For six months; at no cost, we are sharing a tool designed to make information and technology more accessible. The tool, an Emergency Response Desktop Suite is available to 500 Colorado adults with developmental disabilities.

Enrich: Coronavirus and Your Financial Health – Answers, tips, and advice for staying financially well during the COVID-19 pandemic

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission 

      1. What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws Technical Assistance Questions and Answers
      2. Pandemic Preparedness in the Workplace and the Americans with Disabilities Act
      3. COVID-19 and the EEOC (Youtube)

Health First Colorado and CHP+ Providers and Case Managers: COVID-19 Information – The Department knows providers will have many questions about COVID-19 and will post updates on policies, codes and other important information to providers on this site. Communications will continue to be sent out via bulletins and newsletters. Contains many excellent links to additional information.

Hunger Free Colorado – Food assistance information for the state,  not just Denver Metro. The site is updated regularly. The Food Resource Hotline is (855-855-4626), M – F (8 am – 4:30 pm).

Internet Essentials: Affordable Internet at Home Offers two months free internet with low costs after, and the option to purchase a laptop or desktop computer at a discounted price. For new customers, visit www.internetessentials.com. Also two dedicated phone numbers 1-855-846-8376 for English and 1-855-765-6995 for Spanish. 

Linguabee Sign Language Interpreting Services — Linguabee is offering Free VRI access at COVID-19 test sites for the Deaf community

Mile High Connects’ Denver Metro COVID-19 Housing Response Strategy community platform — This platform is designed for us to come together and stay abreast of various local and regional emergency housing-related responses to the COVID-19 crisis, share resources with one another, identify and elevate opportunities to coordinate strategic, longer-term efforts to stabilize housing in our region.

Housing Resource List — Compiled through the community platform described above.

NFBCO Assistance Hotline and Email — If you are a blind or low vision person in Colorado who needs assistance call us at 303-778-1130 extension 219 or email assistance@nfbco.org.

One Strong Voice: Information and Resources Regarding Medical Rationing — OSV participated in a call hosted by The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD).  During the call, they received a number of questions about what individuals can do to prevent states from developing discriminatory medical triage protocols. Link to the resource page.

Social Security & Coronavirus — Updates about what SSA is doing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Simple Dollar: A Guide to Auto Insurance If You’re Living Out of Your Car — This guide provides an auto insurance roadmap, so you can keep your vehicle in good standing while working toward a more permanent home. You’ll also find resources that can help you stay safe while living out of your car, and help transition into a more permanent place to live.

Xcel Energy’s response to COVID-19: A message from Xcel Energy CEO Ben Fowke – Xcel will not disconnect service to any residential customers until further notice. If you are having difficulty paying your bills, contact them and they will arrange a payment plan.

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Important Notice
CCDC’s employees and/or volunteers are NOT acting as your attorney. Responses you receive via electronic mail, phone, or in any other manner DO NOT create or constitute an attorney-client relationship between you and the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition (CCDC), or any employee of, or other person associated with, CCDC. The only way an attorney-client relationship is established is if you have a signed retainer agreement with one of the CCDC Legal Program attorneys.

Information received from CCDC’s employees or volunteers, or from this site, should NOT be considered a substitute for the advice of a lawyer. www.ccdconline.org DOES NOT provide any legal advice, and you should consult with your own lawyer for legal advice. This website is a general service that provides information over the internet. The information contained on this site is general information and should not be construed as legal advice to be applied to any specific factual situation.

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