With stories about Ebola splashed across headlines, employers may be concerned about protecting their employees and their workplaces from potential exposure. Although that's a laudable goal, employers need to ensure that their efforts don’t run afoul of relevant employment law considerations, including requirements under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act.

In a Bloomberg BNA Q&A, attorney Shannon D. Farmer, a partner at Ballard Spahr LLP, addresses employment law implications employers should keep in mind when attempting to handle situations involving exposure or suspected exposure to Ebola.

BBNA: Could Ebola be considered a disability under the amended Americans with Disabilities Act?

Farmer: Typically, Ebola would not be considered a disability under the ADA. Temporary conditions, including illnesses like Ebola and the flu, even when serious, generally are not disabilities themselves because of their temporary nature. If long-term complications developed, they could rise to the level of a disability. Ebola will certainly be considered a serious health condition under the Family and Medical Leave Act. In addition, taking action against employees because of fear that Ebola or exposure to Ebola may render them unable to work could lead to a claim of "regarded as" discrimination under the ADA

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Labor and Employment