The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on September 8 posted an updated technical assistance document, “What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws (WYSK).”
The Commission’s guide incorporates up-to-date information from other EEOC resources to address common questions from employers, advocates and workers about how COVID-19-related issues are treated under federal equal employment opportunity laws.
The updated WYSK adds 18 questions and answers that have been adapted from two other EEOC technical assistance resources.
The EEOC also updated two existing Q&As to clarify and reinforce prior EEOC statements about COVID-19 and the EEO laws.
Americans with Disabilities Act
First, the EEOC more fully explains its existing position about employers administering COVID-19 tests before permitting employees to enter the workplace.
Specifically, the guide notifies employers that, the ADA does not prevent employers from following public health authorities’ guidance on testing. The updated guidance states that employer-administered testing that’s consistent with current CDC guidance will meet the ADA’s “business necessity” standard.
Request for accomodation
Second, the Commission clarifies its position that employers have authority to invite remote employees to request disability accommodation in advance of their expected return.
Employers may inform the workforce that employees with disabilities may request accommodations in advance that they believe they may need when the workplace re-opens. If an employee requests an accommodation at a later time, the employer must consider the request at that time.
And, the Commission states, if advance requests are received, employers may begin the “interactive process” – the discussion between the employer and employee focused on whether the impairment is a disability and the reasons that an accommodation is needed.
For more information
Links to the updated EEOC guide and many other government and HRMorning coronavirus information sources are available on our comprehensive webpage, Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resources for HR Professionals.