Client Alert: EEOC Releases “What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws”

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has recently released Q&A guidance titled “What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws”.  The guidance was updated on April 23, 2020, and covers a variety of topics ranging from hiring and furloughs to pandemic-related harassment and returning employees to work.  Here is a small sample of the many questions addressed in the guidance:

Q: Can an employer screen job applicants for symptoms of COVID-19?
A: Yes, if the employer makes a conditional job offer and screens all entering employees in the same type of job.

Q: May an employer withdraw a job offer when it needs an applicant to start immediately but the individual has COVID-19 or symptoms of it?
A: Yes, for now.  Based on current CDC guidance, this individual cannot safely enter the workplace.

Q: May an employer withdraw a job offer or unilaterally postpone a start date because an individual is 65+ years old or pregnant, both of which place them at higher risk from COVID-19?
A: No. However, employers may choose to allow telework or ask these individuals if they would like to postpone their start date.

Q: Does the ADA require employers to offer protection to individuals with disabilities that place them at higher risk from COVID-19 as a reasonable accommodation?
A: Possibly, if no undue hardship to the employer.

Q: During the pandemic, if an employee requests an accommodation for a medical condition either at home or in the workplace, may an employer still request information to determine if the condition is a disability?
A: Yes.  If not obvious or already known, employers may ask questions or request medical documentation if needed.

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Jacob A. Tosti

Jacob is an Associate in the firm’s Labor & Employment Practice Area. With a primary focus in employment litigation, his experience in the courtroom, paired with his background in preparing thoughtful and concise motions, legal briefs and affidavits, make him an asset to clients who are looking to solve complex workplace legal issues.

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About the Authors

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Associate

Jacob A. Tosti

Jacob is an Associate in the firm’s Labor & Employment Practice Area. With a primary focus in employment litigation, his experience in the courtroom, paired with his background in preparing thoughtful and concise motions, legal briefs and affidavits, make him an asset to clients who are looking to solve complex workplace legal issues.

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