News & Announcements

EEOC Releases New COVID-19 Guidance

Posted Tuesday, March 24, 2020 6:26 am

On March 19, 2020, the EEOC provided updated guidance for employers regarding the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) and the Rehabilitation Act in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Below are some highlights of the guidance, which are commonly asked by employers.

Employees:

  1. Stay home: Employers may send employees home if they display COVID-19 symptoms or symptoms associated with it. Employers may require employees with symptoms of COVID-19 to stay home.
  2. Ask about symptoms: Employers may ask employees if they are experiencing symptoms of the pandemic virus (fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, or sore threat). Employers must maintain all information about employee illness as a confidential medical record in compliance with the ADA.
  3. Temperature: Employers make take employees’ temperature. Employers should be aware that not everyone with COVID-19 has a fever.
  4. Doctor’s note: Employers may require doctors’ notes certifying an employees’ fitness for duty upon their return to work. Practically, however, health care professionals may be too busy with the pandemic to provide such documentation.

Applicants:

  1. Screen for symptoms: Employers may screen job applicants for symptoms of COVID-19 after making a conditional job offer so long as the employer does so for all entering employees in the same type of job.
  2. Temperature: Employers may take an applicant’s temperature as part of a post-offer, pre-employment medical exam.
  3. Delay start date: Employers may delay the start date of an applicant who has COVID-19 or symptoms associated with it.
  4. Withdraw job offer: An employer may withdraw a job offer if the employer needs the applicant to start immediately but the applicant has COVID-19 or symptoms of it.

The EEOC’s updated publication, Pandemic Preparedness in the Workplace and the Americans With Disabilities Act, is available here.

Feature of the Month:

Are You Prepared for COVID-19?

Employers and employees are understandably concerned about COVID-19 (formerly known as the 2019 Novel Coronavirus or 2019-nCov). While it is important to avoid overreacting or taking drastic measures, it is equally important to stay informed and be prepared.

Learn More

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