Today, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) added more Questions and Answers
to its technical assistance page titled, “What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws.” Among some of the key points to know, the EEOC confirmed:
- Federal law does not prevent employers from requiring all employees physically entering the workplace to be vaccinated for COVID-19.
- An employee who does not get vaccinated due to a disability covered by the American Disabilities Act (“ADA”) or a sincerely held religious belief, practice, or observance covered by Title VII may be entitled to a reasonable accommodation that does not pose an undue hardship on the employer’s business. A reasonable accommodation would be requiring the unvaccinated employee to wear a face mask, work at a social distance from other co-workers, accept a reassignment, work a modified shift, or get periodic testing.
- The ADA requires employers to maintain confidentiality of confirmation of a COVID-19 vaccination, regardless of where the employee gets the vaccination. This information must be stored separately from the employee’s personnel files under the ADA.
Additionally, the EEOC posted an entirely new webpage as a resource for job applicants and employees summarizing how federal employment laws protect workers during the pandemic. This new resource covers topics of workplace harassment, reasonable accommodations, and modifications.
COUNSEL TO MANAGEMENT:
The interactive process for accommodation can be a minefield for Human Resources and front-line staff that have been overwhelmed with changes in COVID-19 laws over the past year. Working with competent counsel can be a critical difference in protecting the Company from an audit or lawsuit down the road. We will continue to monitor new developments as they occur. As a reminder, the EEOC enforces federal laws against workplace discrimination. To ensure compliance with both federal and California state labor and employment laws, contact the experts at The Saqui Law Group, P.C.