UPDATE: EEOC Updates 'Pandemic Preparedness in the Workplace' Guidance to Address COVID-19

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has revised its 2009 publication on “Pandemic Preparedness in the Workplace and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA),” which it issued originally during the H1N1 outbreak. The publication provides employers with technical assistance regarding Titles I and V of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act, and pandemic planning for the workplace.

On March 27, 2020, the EEOC conducted a webinar addressing common questions it had received regarding appropriate measures to take in light of the Guidance. The EEOC has continued to revise periodically the Q&A portion of its Guidance, issuing updates on April 9, April 23, May 5, May 7, and June 11. The EEOC’s stated purpose in revising the Guidance is to assist employers in implementing strategies to navigate the workplace impact of COVID-19, consistent with applicable laws and regulations. Most of the publication written during the H1N1 outbreak remains relevant, but it now includes additional examples and information tailored to COVID-19.

On March 11, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) declared COVID-19 a pandemic and alerted employers that a significant risk of substantial harm would be posed by having someone with COVID-19, or symptoms of it, present in the workplace. The CDC directed employees who become ill with symptoms of COVID-19 to leave immediately. The EEOC Guidance makes it clear that the ADA does not interfere with employers following these directions. FULL ARTICLE

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