In September the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) added 18 new answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) to its existing guidance on how employers should comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) while also observing all applicable emergency workplace safety guidelines during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The agency also updated two of the FAQs from the existing guidance.
The new and updated FAQs clarify the types of questions employers may ask employees related to COVID-19. It also clarifies how employers must handle any medical information they obtain about their employees. The new FAQs provide expanded guidance on providing telework as a reasonable accommodation during and after the pandemic.
This HR Compliance Bulletin contains only the FAQs that were added or updated on September 8, 2020. Employers that are subject to the ADA should not only become familiar with these FAQs but also review the EEOC’s full guidance, which was initially issued on March 18 and updated several times in April, May, and June 2020. An employer is subject to the ADA if it has 15 or more employees. Smaller employers may be subject to similar rules under applicable state or local laws.
ADA Prohibitions: The EEOC’s new FAQs clarify, among other things, that employers may not:
- Ask employees who will not be physically entering the workplace whether they have COVID-19 or its symptoms;
- Ask any employees whether they have family members with COVID-19 or its symptoms;
- Single out a particular employee for questions about or tests for COVID-19 or its symptoms, unless there is objective evidence that he or she may have the disease.
Guidance on Telework as a Reasonable Accommodation: The new FAQs also clarify how employers should handle employee request for continued teleworking under various circumstances.
All employers should follow the most current guidelines and suggestions for maintaining workplace safety, as issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and any applicable state or local health agencies.
Employers with 15 or more employees should also become familiar with and follow the guidance provided in all of the EEOC’s FAQs about ADA compliance. These and all smaller employers should ensure that they comply with state and local anti-discrimination laws as well.
To get the full list of all the 18 new FAQs on Coronavirus and the ADA, read What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehbailitation Act, and Other EEO Laws on the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s website.
Click here to download the entire Compliance Bulletin.
This Compliance Bulletin is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. Readers should contact legal counsel for legal advice. Design ©2020 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.
Material posted on this website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute a legal opinion or medical advice. Contact your legal representative or medical professional for information specific to your legal or medical needs.