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July 22, 2020: Work Adjustments If You Live With Someone At Risk From COVID-19

Communication from Ray Lauber, director of Human Resources

July 22, 2020

Dear ESU Faculty + Staff,

Some of you have asked whether you can change how you work on campus, or even work from home, because of health risks from COVID-19 for people you live with. Traditional work protections, such as the Americans With Disabilities Act, do not cover employees in situations like this.

Emporia State, however, has created new policies and protocols during the pandemic under which you may ask for work changes. These policies and protocols have incorporated feedback from shared governance. The ESU Work Adjustments for University Employees Cohabitating with At-Risk Individuals During COVID-19 Pandemic is effective today, July 22, 2020. View the full document.

This is a general summary of the policies and process:

  1. To qualify for a work adjustment, you must work in a job that is not generally eligible for remote work. Five approved adjustments are available to select from. These include:
  • Wear personal protective equipment on the job,
  • An allowance to work remotely,
  • Change your work schedule to hours when fewer people are in your area,
  • Join with a small number of employees in your area to create a “cohort” that would work the same hours and days, again avoiding your exposure to others, or

Use your qualifying personal leave (not sick leave) to cover not being at work.

2. There are 20 specific medical diagnoses that are recognized as potentially higher risk for complications related to COVID-19.

3. Medical documentation is required with your request, which will be securely maintained by Human Resources. Please note, this does not mean actual medical records or disclosure of particular health conditions, but documentation from a qualified health care provider attesting that a specific member of your household has one of the specific diagnoses.
4. These protocols only apply to the COVID-19 pandemic; these requests are considered on a semester-by-semester basis, requiring you to reapply prior to each semester.
5. If you want to apply for a work adjustment, provide a written request with the medical documentation to your supervisor before the fall semester begins on August 17. University Facilities will provide additional guidance to Facilities’ employees on the steps for requesting work adjustments.
6. Your supervisor will evaluate your request and work with the supervisory chain for approvals.

If your request for a work adjustment is approved, you will be required to sign a statement affirming that you, those living in your home and visitors to your home will practice social distancing, wear face masks and practice appropriate hygiene in every walk of life, not just on campus. This signed statement includes an acknowledgement that failure to meet the guidelines will end the approved work adjustment.

We know that you have many questions about what our work life will look like when we return for the fall semester. This policy about work adjustments because of at-risk individuals in your home is the first of several we are working on.

Keep an eye on your email for information about requesting accommodations under the Americans With Disabilities Act and how to track leave when you take time off because of COVID-19.

If you have any questions, please reach out to

Ray Lauber
Director of Human Resources, Affirmative Action and Equal Employment Opportunity Officer