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Govt. Rarely Requires In-House ‘Sick Area’

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

Q. Is our company required to provide a couch or cot on the premises in the event that an employee becomes ill? Are there any laws that dictate safety or health reasons for doing this? —V.A., Ohio

A. As a general rule, employers aren't required to set up a rest area for employees who suffer illness or injury. The only exception: In certain industries, safety standards could require you to have an area designated to handle emergency injuries or exposures, for instance.

That said, it's not hard to imagine an employee with a disability insisting that he or she needs a rest area as an accommodation to perform his or her job. As strange as it may sound—and depending on the facts of the situation—under the Americans with Disabilities Act, you may have to furnish a cot or couch. At a minimum, it's generally recommended for most employers to provide handicapped restrooms and/or break areas.

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