The U.S. Department of Justice has issued a warning about fraudulent cards and other documents bearing the DOJ seal that claim individuals are exempt from face mask requirements.
The DOJ warning references internet postings regarding the Americans with Disabilities Act and the use of face masks due to the COVID-19 pandemic which include the agency's seal and phone number.
In the warning, the DOJ notes that the ADA does not provide a blanket exemption to people with disabilities from complying with the legitimate safety requirements necessary for safe operations.
Connecticut businesses and employers should be aware of these fraudulent exemption documents as Connecticut tightened its face mask mandate this month.
The Lamont administration's Aug. 14 executive order mandates that any person in a public place in Connecticut, whether indoors or outdoors, who does not maintain a safe social distance of approximately six feet from others shall cover their mouth and nose with a mask or face covering.
The executive order exempts people with medical conditions from wearing a mask provided they have written documentation from a licensed medical provider or the state Department of Developmental services or other state agency that provides or supports services for people with emotional, intellectual or physical disabilities.
The documentation need not name or describe the medical condition that qualifies the person for the exemption.
Employees who cannot wear a mask due to a medical condition must provide documentation to their employer and businesses have the right to refuse service to anyone not wearing a mask or face covering.
CBIA's Mark Soycher suggests traditional ADA principles require exploration of reasonable accommodation where someone’s inability to use a face mask is due to a medical condition that may fall within the definition of disability.
For more information about fraudulent cards and documents claiming ADA exceptions to the face mask mandate or other inaccurate information, the DOJ suggests visiting ADA.gov or call the ADA information line (800.514.0301; TTY 800.514.0383).