The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued a bulletin this morning advising that Field Offices have temporarily stopped conducting in-person intake interviews due to the current health situation. Before closing its doors, though, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) confirmed in a short online article, What You Should Know About the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and COVID-19, that the anti-discrimination laws it enforces do not interfere with or prevent employers from following U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines related to planning, preparing for, and responding to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). The EEOC provided a link to EEOC guidance issued in 2009 regarding the H1N1 pandemic, guidance that provides timely and helpful information applicable to today’s COVID-19 pandemic. This GT Alert summarizes the EEOC guidance on pandemic preparedness in the workplace.
The guidance focuses on legal restrictions on disability-related inquiries and medical examinations. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) generally prohibits them, subject to two major exceptions. Employers can make disability-related inquiries and conduct medical examinations if the inquiries and examinations are job-related and consistent with business necessity – that is, if there is objective evidence that (a) an employee’s ability to perform essential job functions will be impaired by a medical condition, or (b) an employee will pose a direct threat due to a medical condition.
Click here to read the full GT Alert, “EEOC Coronavirus Disease 2019 Guidance to Employers.”