EEOC Updates Guidance Regarding COVID-19 and Leave

On May 7, 2020, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released an updated and expanded guidance document addressing questions arising under the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Laws related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The document, “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 ADA and Rehabilitation Act.

The new questions, G3, G4, and G5, are as follows

  • What does an employee need to do in order to request reasonable accommodation from her employer because she has one of the medical conditions that the CDC says may put her at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19?
  • The CDC identifies a number of medical conditions that might place individuals at a “higher risk for severe illness” if they get COVID-19. 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.  How does the ADA apply to this situation?
  • What are examples of accommodation that, absent undue hardship, may eliminate (or reduce to an acceptable level) a direct threat to self?

The EEOC stresses that “Employers must do a thorough direct threat analysis, which includes an individualized assessment based on relevant factors and a determination of whether the threat can be reduced or eliminated through a reasonable accommodation.” Please see the guidance for the EEOC’s detailed answers. Employers Council is here to help and consultation is covered under membership; please call us with your questions.