Lately, many Colorado residents may have been hearing a lot about at-risk employees in the news. But it is important for Colorado employers to understand what it means to be an at-risk employee and who can qualify.
Who are the at-risk employees?
In general, at-risk employees have a disability or condition that puts them at risk for contracting an illness. Employees who are considered to be “higher risk” due to the ongoing health crisis include those:
- over the age of 65
- who are pregnant
- who are immunocompromised
- who are severely overweight
- with chronic kidney or lung disease
- with diabetes
- with asthma
- with liver disease
Mental health can also qualify a person as an at-risk employee. Mental disorders such as anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post traumatic stress disorder or depressive disorder that involve unusual challenges in the disruptions caused by the pandemic. The Americans with Disability Act covers employees who have preexisting mental health conditions.
What can employers do?
Owing to the ongoing situation, it is expected that employers should make certain accommodations for these employees by gathering the necessary information; identifying, discussing and communicating the different accommodation options; and also assess how practical those accommodations are so that interests of both the employees and the employer is protected.
Employers who have at-risk employees may want to speak with an attorney who specializes in employment law so that they understand how at-risk employees may be affected by the pandemic. Employees who qualify as at-risk employees may also find that an employment attorney can be helpful with any problems that may arise with their employer.