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Masks, face shields and face coverings are currently required statewide for people age 5 and older
People with a disability or medical condition may request accommodation from a business or public space if they cannot wear a mask.
More information about Governor Brown's executive order here.
Employees with a disability or a medical condition that prevents them from wearing a face covering should inform their employer that they cannot safely wear a face covering.
Oregon employers have a duty to respond to a request for a reasonable accommodation for a disability or medical condition in a meaningful, interactive way. While an employer may require documentation of the disability or medical condition, an interactive process could be as simple as a productive conversation to identify what changes would allow the employee to keep working. Unless it creates an undue hardship, employers must provide a reasonable accommodation for an employee with a known disability or medical condition.
Regarding face coverings, a number of accommodations might permit an employee to continue to do their job. Reasonable accommodations must be specifically tailored to the essential functions of the job and the accommodation needs of the employee.
Examples of reasonable accommodations include:
Employees (or even applicants) who are denied a request for reasonable accommodation should contact BOLI’s Civil Rights Division at 971-673-0764; 711 (TTY) or
Employers with questions about their obligations to accommodate a disability should contact BOLI’s Technical Assistance for Employers program at 971-673-0824; 711 (TTY) or
Oregon businesses and those responsible for indoor spaces must inform customers and visitors about the Governor’s requirement to wear a mask, face shield, or face covering.
Businesses should be familiar with the circumstances in which masks, face shields or face coverings are not required:
Best practices for enforcing the mask, face shield, and face covering requirements include:
Educating employees on barriers to wearing face coverings for some individuals. This education should include
disability etiquette, which includes engaging respectfully and in a non-confrontational manner. Disability etiquette training is offered by the
NW ADA Center.
Posting prominent signage visible prior to entry letting everyone know about the requirement. OHA’s
sample signage is available online and highlights that accommodations for people with a disability or medical condition are available.
Provide signage and information in languages that customers and visitors use, and in large print format.
Businesses should post their phone number to alert the public about the best person to call to discuss a reasonable accommodation.
Communicate your commitment to provide accommodations through social media, email lists, and your website.
Assigning staff to the entryway to help with any needed arrangements. All employees should know who to contact when someone has an accommodation need. Someone responsible for responding to accommodation issues should be available at all times that the business is open.
If someone indicates that they cannot safely wear a mask, face shield or face covering, a business should NOT ask questions or request documentation of the disability or medical condition. The only question a business may ask is whether someone has a disability or medical condition that prevents them from safely wearing a mask, face shield or face covering.
Instead, engage the person in a discussion about how the business might accommodate their needs while protecting the health and safety of other customers and employees. Options could include any of the sample modifications listed above.
If an individual indicates that they do not have a relevant medical condition or disability (or refuses to answer) but refuses to wear a mask, face shield or face covering,
Oregon OSHA recommends that they should be politely told that the organization cannot serve them and that they need to leave the premises. Under no circumstances should the business, organization or their representative attempt to physically block an individual from entering or physically remove an individual from the premises. If an individual refuses to leave, the organization should follow whatever procedures would normally be used if an individual refuses to leave the establishment when asked to do so.
Civil Rights Division responds to reports of businesses or organizations that will not offer reasonable, alternative means to access services for people with disabilities or medical conditions that prevent them from safely wearing a mask, face shield or face covering.
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