As we explained in one of our prior briefings, employers must be careful to manage workplace risks arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic while still complying with, among other things, federal and state anti-discrimination laws.
On March 19, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued a briefing entitled “What You Should Know About the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and COVID-19.” This publication provides helpful guidance for employers seeking to balance all legitimate safety and other concerns in this uncertain environment.
As the EEOC noted, while federal disability discrimination protections still apply, “they do not interfere with or prevent employers from following [CDC, state and local guidance] about steps employers should take regarding COVID-19.” The EEOC’s briefing also refers employers to its revised guidance entitled “Pandemic Preparedness in the Workplace and the Americans Disabilities Act, ” which has been updated to address the impact of COVID-19 on workplaces. That publication provides additional detailed information for employers.
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