Who qualifies as an at-risk employee?

| Sep 8, 2020 | Workers' Compensation

There is a lot of discussion in the media about “at-risk” people in the COVID-19 era, but less is actually known about the virus and at-risk because it is new. Generally speaking, at-risk employees have a disability or condition that makes them more likely to contract the virus or have complications if they contract the virus.

Common physical factors for at-risk employees

Here are some common physical attributes for those at risk:

  • Those 65 years or older
  • Those who are pregnant
  • Those who are severely overweight (30-plus BMI)
  • Those who are immunocompromised
  • Those with chronic kidney disease
  • Those with chronic lung disease
  • Those with diabetes
  • Those with liver disease
  • Those with moderate to severe asthma

Mental health also qualifies as at-risk

The impact of the pandemic affects different people in different ways. Those with mental health challenges may also be at risk. These are harder to diagnose and prove, but it can be just as challenging for those who contract the virus. Preexisting mental health conditions involve people who fall under the Americans with Disability Act. It can involve unusual challenges in the disruptions caused by the pandemic. It can lead to feelings of isolation, loneliness, fear, or anxiety. Typical preexisting conditions that qualify as at-risk include:

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Depressive disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder

Employees deserve a safe environment

The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) holds employers accountable for providing a safe work environment. However, there may be disagreements on what is a safe work environment for at-risk employees or whether they need accommodations. Those with questions about their unique situation may need to contact a law firm that handles worker’s compensation matters for at-risk employees.