Learn how the American with Disabilities Act may affect how employers handle COVID-19
You’ve seen it on the news. You’ve heard what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) has to say about it. What is the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) saying about the coronavirus or COVID-19?
In early March, the EEOC issued a press release with reminders as to how the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Rehabilitation Act interact with employers handling COVID-19 in the workplace. Key notes within this release include a reminder that, while both the ADA and Rehabilitation Act rules apply when considering how to handle employees and COVID-19, those laws do not interfere or prevent employers from following guidelines or suggesting made by the CDC. Meaning, if the CDC recommends employers take certain precautions, even if those go against ADA or Rehabilitation Act rules, employers should follow the CDC guidance.
At the time of this writing, COVID-19 has not been declared a pandemic by the WHO. However, it is noteworthy to reference back to the EEOC’s guidance provided in 2009 regarding pandemic preparedness in the workplace. While it is not updated with recommendations for COVID-19 specifically, it provides guidance for employers to consider when pandemics, the ADA, and employer practices intersect.
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