On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the Coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic. The CDC has also declared the Coronavirus outbreak a pandemic so several modified requirements are now applicable under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Below is a reference summary of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) guidance on employer obligations under the ADA during a pandemic:
May an employer send employees home if they display Coronavirus-like symptoms during a pandemic?
Yes. Advising such workers to go home is not a disability-related action if the illness is akin to seasonal influenza or the 2009 spring/summer H1N1 virus.
During a pandemic, may employers ask employees who do not have Coronavirus symptoms to disclose whether they have a medical condition that the CDC says could make them especially vulnerable to influenza complications?
If a pandemic illness becomes more severe or serious according to the assessment of local, state or federal public health officials, and employers have sufficient objective information from public health advisories to reasonably conclude that employees will face a direct threat if they contract the illness, employers may make disability-related inquiries to identify those at higher risk of complications related to the illness.
During a pandemic, how much information may an employer request from employees who report feeling ill at work or who call in sick?
Employers may ask employees if they are experiencing influenza-like symptoms, such as fever or chills and a cough or sore throat. Employee confidentiality must be maintained.
During a pandemic, may an employer take its employees’ temperatures to determine whether they have a fever?
If the outbreak becomes ‘widespread’ in the employer’s local community, as assessed by state or local health authorities or the CDC, employers may measure employees’ body temperature.
During a pandemic, may an employer require its employees to wear personal protective equipment (e.g., face masks, gloves, or gowns) designed to reduce the transmission of pandemic infection?
During a pandemic, must an employer continue to provide reasonable accommodations for employees with known disabilities that are unrelated to the pandemic, barring undue hardship?
Yes — during a pandemic, certain disability-related inquiries are justified under the ADA standards. Employers are still obligated to adhere to other ADA requirements, such as providing reasonable accommodations.
If you require further detail or guidance on what is or is not permissible during a pandemic, please contact a member of our Labor & Employment Group.
- Labor & Employment Law
- Employment Law
- Labor Law
- Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation
- Department of Labor
- Sexual Orientation Discrimination
- Employer Policies
- Americans with Disabilities Act
- Social Media
- Race Discrimination
- Affordable Car Act
- National Labor Relations Act
- National Labor Relations Board
- Reasonable Accommodation
- Employer Handbook
- Employment Litigation
- Wage & Hour
- Federal Arbitration Act
- Title VII
- Paycheck Protection Program
- Sexual Harassment
- Workplace Accommodations
- Employer Rules
- Transgender Issues
- Employment Settlement Agreements
- Securities Law
- Workplace Violence
- Preventive Care Benefits
- Health Savings Account
- SECURE Act
- Sixth Circuit
- US Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration
- Disability Discrimination
- Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
- Fair Labor Standards Act
- Religion Discrimination
- Overtime Pay
- Gender Identity Discrimination
- Posting Requirements
- Class Action Litigation
- Disability Law
- Representative Election Regulations
- Department of Justice
- Family and Medical Leave Act
- Environmental Law
- Privacy Laws
- Older Workers' Benefit Protection Act (OWBPA)
- Healthcare Reform
- Electronically Stored Information
- Affirmative Action
- Compensable Time
- Equal Opportunity Clause
- Pregnancy Discrimination
- Security Screening
- Supreme Court
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration
- E-Discovery Case Law
- Electronic Data Discovery
- Return to Work
- Seniority Rights
- Unemployment Insurance Integrity Act
- American Medical Association
- Attendance Policy
- Fair Minimum Wage
- Federal Minimum Wage
- State Minimum Wage
- Wage Increase
- Disability Leave
- Equal Pay
- Genetic Information Discrimination
- Media Policy
- National Origin Discrimination
- Social Media Content
- Employment Incentives
- HIRE Act
- Social Security Tax
- The Practical Employment Law Podcast: The Settlement Episode
- The Practical Employment Law Podcast: Labor & Employment Update Week of 4/26/21
- The Practical Employment Law Podcast: Termination Done Right - Part 2
- The Practical Employment Law Podcast: Labor & Employment Update - COVID-19 Issues
- The Practical Employment Law Podcast: Labor & Employment Update Week of 3/1/21
- The Practical Employment Law Podcast: Termination Done Right - Part 1
- The Practical Employment Law Podcast: Welcome 2021 - 5 Things for Employers to Consider
- Congressional Proposal Extends Tax Credits to Companies Providing Paid Leave, but Allows Requirement to Expire
- The Practical Employment Law Podcast: EEOC Issues New Guidance on COVID-19 Vaccinations
- The Practical Employment Law Podcast: Non-Compete Agreements - Five Mistakes by Three Parties