EEOC Updates Technical Assistance Publication for Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Coronavirus News

Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

On April 9, 2020, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) – which enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination – posted an updated and expanded technical assistance publication addressing questions arising under the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Laws related to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, according to a press release from the EEOC.

The publication titled “What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws” expands on a previous publication that focused on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and adds questions-and-answers to respond to common inquiries. The EEOC also provided resources on its website related to the pandemic in an employment context.

The EEOC enforces workplace anti-discrimination laws, including the ADA, Rehabilitation Act, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA), and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 1990 (GINA). The EEO laws, including the ADA and Rehabilitation Act, continue to apply during the time of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The EEOC laws do not interfere with or prevent employers from following the guidelines and suggestions made by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or state/local public health authorities about steps employers should take regarding COVID-19. Employers should remember that guidance from public health authorities may change as the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic evolves.

The EEOC also provided guidance for “Pandemic Preparedness in the Workplace and the Americans With Disabilities Act” (PDF) that can help employers implement strategies to navigate the impact of COVID-19 in the workplace. First published during the H1N1 outbreak in 2009, the pandemic publication was updated in March 2020 to address examples and information regarding COVID-19 with new information in bold.

On March 27, 2020, the EEOC posted a webinar addressing questions submitted by the public about how to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic in light of federal employment nondiscrimination laws the EEOC enforces. The webinar supplements COVID-19 publications available on the EEOC website. All EEOC materials related to COVID-19 are collected at www.eeoc.gov/coronavirus.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a deadly respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. As of April 15, 2020, there are nearly two million total confirmed global cases of COVID-19 and more than 127,000 total deaths, according to research from Johns Hopkins University (JHU). The United States leads the world with nearly 610,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 26,000 deaths.

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