Employment (Title I) 5


I have PTSD and cannot wear a mask. My employer requires a mask to be worn at all times and placed me on leave until I could get documentation from my doctor that I cannot wear a mask due my ADA disability. Upon my return I was demoted to a lesser paying position with a schedule that conflicts with my family obligations. Is this legal?


The employer has the right to follow the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) or the state’s mandates for wearing masks. Most states have exceptions for people with disabilities with certain medical conditions. However, if excusing an employee from wearing a mask would put the health and safety of other employees or customers at risk, an employer does not have to eliminate the face mask requirement even for people with disabilities. An employer would have to consider other reasonable accommodations that would allow the employee with a disability to complete their essential job functions. Customer and employee interaction is likely an essential job function, which will make it tough to find an agreeable reasonable accommodation. Some possible accommodations include: relocated to a different office where there is less interaction with the public or other employees, work remotely, or transfer to a vacant position (accommodation of last resort}. The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) has helpful ideas on reasonable accommodations and COVID-19. https://askjan.org/topics/COVID-19.cfm