Employers can help reduce the chance of harassment by explicitly communicating to the workforce that fear of the COVID-19 pandemic should not be misdirected against individuals because of a protected characteristic, including their national origin, race, or other prohibited bases. (4/9/20). (4/23/20; updated 9/8/20 to address stakeholder questions about updates to CDC guidance). Sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act includes discrimination based on pregnancy. (3/17/20). The long-term consequences of this pandemic could present further threats to people with disabilities. To gain the cooperation of employees, however, employers may wish to ask the reasons for the employee’s refusal. A.10. Assuming all the requirements for such a reasonable accommodation are satisfied, the temporary telework experience could be relevant to considering the renewed request. However, employers are free to provide flexibility to workers age 65 and older; the ADEA does not prohibit this, even if it results in younger workers ages 40-64 being treated less favorably based on age in comparison. COVID-19, school reopening and the ADA: Frequently asked questions 1. This website is regularly updated to provide the disability community with information about rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and how they apply to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Happening Now—COVID-19. The employer needs to maintain the confidentiality of this information. are considered at higher risk for developing serious complications, according to the CDC. (4/17/20). However, for those employees who are teleworking and are not physically interacting with coworkers or others (for example, customers), the employer would generally not be permitted to ask these questions. There may also be constraints on the normal availability of items or on the ability of an employer to conduct a necessary assessment. The availability of COVID-19 vaccinations may raise questions about the applicablilty of various equal employment opportunity (EEO) laws, including the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act, GINA, and Title VII, including the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (see Section J, EEO rights relating to pregnancy). The ADA has restrictions on when and how much medical information an employer may obtain from any applicant or employee. The COVID-19 Pandemic Constitutes a Direct Threat Under the ADA. However, subsequent employer questions, such as asking why an individual did not receive a vaccination, may elicit information about a disability and would be subject to the pertinent ADA standard that they be “job-related and consistent with business necessity.”  If an employer requires employees to provide proof that they have received a COVID-19 vaccination from a pharmacy or their own health care provider, the employer may want to warn the employee not to provide any medical information as part of the proof in order to avoid implicating the ADA. No. Funded under a grant from NIDILRR, a Center in the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Dept. In addition, when government restrictions change, or are partially or fully lifted, the need for accommodations may also change. (6/11/20). Unlike the ADA, the ADEA does not include a right to reasonable accommodation for older workers due to age. The American Association on Health and Disability (AAHD) has been closely monitoring and responding to the COVID-19 pandemic in the areas of research, policy, dissemination and education. 131 M Street, NE What may an employer do under the ADA if an employee refuses to permit the employer to take his temperature or refuses to answer questions about whether he has COVID-19, has symptoms associated with COVID-19, or has been tested for COVID-19? The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely. The ADA requirement that medical information be kept confidential includes a requirement that it be stored separately from regular personnel files. Employees may request an extension that an employer must consider, particularly if current government restrictions are extended or new ones adopted. Further guidance For example, even under current circumstances, there may be many no-cost or very low-cost accommodations. The ADA and the Rehabilitation Act permit employers to make information available in advance to all employees about who to contact—if they wish—to request accommodation for a disability that they may need upon return to the workplace, even if no date has been announced for their return. The American Association of Health and Disability created a resource page on COVID-19 for people with disabilities. Even if an employer determines that an employee’s disability poses a direct threat to his own health, the employer still cannot exclude the employee from the workplace—or take any other adverse action—unless there is no way to provide a reasonable accommodation (absent undue hardship). If an employer requires vaccinations when they are available, how should it respond to an employee who indicates that he or she is unable to receive a COVID-19 vaccination because of a disability? If, however, an employee requests a religious accommodation, and an employer has an objective basis for questioning either the religious nature or the sincerity of a particular belief, practice, or observance, the employer would be justified in requesting additional supporting information. Northwest ADA Center Respectful Interactions: Disability Language and Etiquette. With limited exceptions, the ADA requires employers to keep confidential any medical information they learn about any applicant or employee. In discussing accommodation requests, employers and employees also may find it helpful to consult the Job Accommodation Network (JAN) website as a resource for different types of accommodations, www.askjan.org. We do not give medical or legal advice. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires employers with 15 or more employees to provide reasonable accommodation for qualified applicants and employees with disabilities. For example, employers may review information from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration about what may or may not be considered safe and accurate testing, as well as guidance from CDC or other public health authorities. Yes. No. An employer may exclude those with COVID-19, or symptoms associated with COVID-19, from the workplace because, as EEOC has stated, their presence would pose a direct threat to the health or safety of others. Although employers and employees should address these requests as soon as possible, the extraordinary circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic may result in delay in discussing requests and in providing accommodation where warranted. See the following from the EEOC’s What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws. Once an employer is on notice that an employee’s sincerely held religious belief, practice, or observance prevents the employee from receiving the vaccination, the employer must provide a reasonable accommodation for the religious belief, practice, or observance unless it would pose an undue hardship under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. B.3. Second, if an employee receives an employer-required vaccination from a third party that does not have a contract with the employer, such as a pharmacy or other health care provider, the ADA “job-related and consistent with business necessity” restrictions on disability-related inquiries would not apply to the pre-vaccination medical screening questions. Yes. Under Title II of GINA, employers may not (1) use genetic information to make decisions related to the terms, conditions, and privileges of employment, (2) acquire genetic information except in six narrow circumstances, or (3) disclose genetic information except in six narrow circumstances. Situations created by the current COVID-19 crisis may constitute an “extenuating circumstance”—something beyond a Federal agency’s control—that may justify exceeding the normal timeline that an agency has adopted in its internal reasonable accommodation procedures. An employer may remind all employees that it is against the federal EEO laws to harass or otherwise discriminate against coworkers based on race, national origin, color, sex, religion, age (40 or over), disability, or genetic information. National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR). We will continue to add new resources and information as they become available. More information is available in EEOC's technical assistance document on severance agreements. DRO: Mask Wearing and the Americans with Disabilities Act: 7/2/2020: ODDS Fact Sheet: Unemployment Insurance, COVID-19 Stimulus Money, and other Financial Supports: English: 6/24/2020: ODDS COVID Reopening Spanish Video: Spanish: 6/8/2020: Developing a Plan for Returning to Work and Activities: 5/29/2020: Template_Lifecourse Trajectory: 5/29/2020 First, if an employer has offered a vaccination to employees on a voluntary basis (i.e. D.11. An employer may store all medical information related to COVID-19 in existing medical files. (4/9/20). According to current CDC guidance, an individual who has COVID-19 or symptoms associated with it should not be in the workplace. A negative test does not mean the employee will not acquire the virus later. J.2. An employer is always entitled to know why an employee has not reported for work. (9/8/20; adapted from 3/27/20 Webinar Question 12). D.4. Disability:IN has compiled the following resources to support your disability inclusion work during COVID-19. (4/17/20). ADA Coronavirus (COVID-19) Center for Dentists The COVID-19 outbreak and its impact on our daily lives is rapidly evolving. For example, the fact that the period of telework may be of a temporary or unknown duration may render certain accommodations either not feasible or an undue hardship. This non-taxable, non-reportable, one-time payment provides up to $600 in recognition of the extraordinary expenses incurred by persons with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.. An employer knows that an employee has one of these conditions and is concerned that his health will be jeopardized upon returning to the workplace, but the employee has not requested accommodation. (4/9/20). Find your nearest EEOC office If an employer wishes to ask only a particular employee to answer such questions, or to have her temperature taken or undergo other screening or testing, the ADA requires the employer to have a reasonable belief based on objective evidence that this person might have the disease. When employees return to work, does the ADA allow employers to require a doctor's note certifying fitness for duty? If a manager or supervisor receives medical information involving COVID-19, or any other medical information, while teleworking, and is able to follow an employer’s existing confidentiality protocols while working remotely, the supervisor has to do so. This payment complements other emergency supports, such as the one-time special payment through the Goods and Services Tax Credit and the one-time payment to seniors. In other words, it is not an ADA confidentiality violation for this employee to inform his supervisor about a coworker’s symptoms. 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