EEOC Issues Guidance Relaxing Restrictions Imposed by the ADA Concerning Coronavirus
On March 18, 2020, the EEOC provided updated guidance on Coronavirus issues in the workplace, setting aside certain restrictions imposed by the Americans with Disabilities Act. We do not advocate these new procedures necessarily, but they do inform (and change) the current rules for disabilities in the workplace. These changes only concern the Coronavirus crisis. Otherwise, these actions still are violations of the ADA.
Employers now may check an employee’s temperature in the workplace. The temperature checker should be trained in doing so. The information should be kept confidential. An employer can send home without pay a worker who refuses to be checked.
Employers may ask employees about observed symptoms (e.g., What is the nature of your chronic cough?) and even whether employees are experiencing unseen symptoms (e.g., Do you have a fever?). An employer must confine these inquiries to symptoms of COVID-19.
An employer may send home an employee who has COVID-19. A doctor’s note for return after infection recovery may be required. If a doctor’s note is not available, an employer may request some other evidence, such as a record of a negative test.
An employer may take an applicant’s temperature as part of a post-offer, pre-employment examination.
An employer may screen applicants for symptoms of COVID-19 after making a conditional job offer.
An employer may delay the start date of an applicant who has COVID-19 or the symptoms associated with it.
An employer may withdraw an offer for a job that is an immediate need if the applicant has COVID-19, on the basis that the employer has a greater obligation for the safety of its existing employees.