EBP Conference 2021 Session 16

Employment Rights of People with Mental Illness in the Wake of COVID-19

Thursday 8/19/2021 9:00 AM - 10:30 AM CST

COVID-19 has raised many questions about the employment rights of people with mental illness and other disabilities. This session will answer the following questions: Does the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protect someone at "high risk" for COVID? Is COVID itself a disability? How will people with disabilities return to work and what accommodations are available? Can employers conduct temperature checks, require COVID-19 testing, masking or vaccinations? What are the employment rights of people who have to care for people with disabilities? All of these questions and more will be answered so that people with mental illness and mental health professionals can make informed decisions.

Presented by:

Barry Taylor, Vice President for Civil Rights and Systemic Litigation - Equip for Equality

Barry Taylor is the Vice President for Civil Rights and Systemic Litigation at Equip for Equality, where has worked since 1996. At Equip for Equality, he has overseen many individual and systemic disability discrimination cases including successful federal ADA lawsuits. Barry has given numerous presentations on the ADA across the country to people with disabilities, family members, attorneys, employers, businesses, service providers and advocacy organizations. Barry has served as the Chairperson of the Disability Rights Consortium, Chairperson of the Regional Transit Authority's ADA Advisory Committee; Chairperson of Season of Concern, Chairperson of the Legal Committee for the National Association of Protection and Advocacy Systems, Chairperson of the Chicago Bar Association's Legal Aid Committee, Chairperson of the Chicago Bar Association's Mental Health and Disability Law Committee, and Co-Chairperson of the Chicago Bar Foundation's Pro Bono Week. He has been an Adjunct Professor at John Marshall Law School, and in 2001, Chicago Lawyer Magazine named him one of "40 Illinois Attorneys Under 40 to Watch." Prior to coming to Equip for Equality, Barry was the AIDS Project Attorney in the Midwest Regional Office of Lambda Legal working to advance the civil rights of people living with HIV/AIDS. From 1988 - 1993, Barry was a litigation associate at the Chicago law firm of Peterson & Ross. He is a 1988 graduate of the University of Illinois College of Law, where he also received his undergraduate degree in 1985.

Rachel Weisberg Staff Attorney - Equip for Equality

Rachel Weisberg is a Staff Attorney at Equip for Equality where she litigates individual and systemic disability discrimination cases under Titles I, II and III of the ADA. Rachel also manages Equip for Equality's Employment Rights Helpline, which provides legal advice and advocacy for people with disabilities who have experienced employment discrimination. In 2014, Rachel was awarded a Chicago Bar Foundation Sun-Times Public Interest Law Fellowship. Prior to Equip for Equality, Rachel worked as an Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Rights Bureau and Disability Rights Bureau of the Illinois Attorney General's Office, a labor and employment associate at Sidley Austin LLP, and a law clerk for Chief Judge James G. Carr in the Northern District of Ohio. Before law school, Rachel worked as an ADA technical assistance specialist at the Mid-Atlantic ADA Center, and during law school interned with the Disability Rights Section of the U.S. Department of Justice. She is a 2008 graduate of Northwestern University School of Law, and a 2003 graduate of the University of Michigan.