Health

Professor with Heart Condition Sues the University to Allow Work from Home

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  • The University of the South is asking teachers to return to campus in the spring.
  • Dr. Elizabeth Kostal’s request to work remotely because of her disabilities was denied.
  • Kostal now denounces the university, accusing it of a violation of American Disability Law.
  • Visit the Insider homepage for more stories.

A university professor is suing his employer, saying the decision not to let her work remotely is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Dr. Elizabeth Kostal, 48, has asthma and heart problems, two conditions that increase the risk of contracting severe COVID-19. Kostal says he can’t get the Covid-19 vaccine because he had a history of adversity reactions to other vaccines, one of which includes inflammation of the heart muscle.

At the beginning of the pandemic, Kostal, an associate professor of nursing and health sciences at the University of Southern Virginia Beach, taught his students virtually from home.

In the spring, however, university employees will return to campus.

Kostal asked to work from home, citing that she is an American with a disability, but the university did not approve of her application, saying her disabilities did not qualify her for distance work.

Returning to work, Kostal said she was nervous working with nursing students, who may have had contact with COVID-19 patients. “The risks I was taking were 100% unnecessary. It’s not just that I’m trying to mitigate the risks, I’m trying to preserve my life,” Kostal told Insider.

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Kostal’s attorney, Christine Hogan, filed a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on Kostal’s behalf.

Since filing his lawsuit, Kostal is temporarily allowed to work from home. Kostal said the university plans to review this agreement in 30 days, and uncertainty will consume it.

“I don’t sleep well, I don’t eat well. I always think about it, because, you know, my future is uncertain for me in many respects,” Kostal told the Insider.

The University of the South did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


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