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). Be cautious about the sources of information you find on social media. An employer choosing to offer additional flexibilities beyond what the law requires should be careful not to engage in disparate treatment on a protected EEO basis. With limited exceptions, the ADA requires employers to keep confidential any medical information they learn about any applicant or employee. The CDC states that employees who become ill with symptoms of COVID-19 should leave the workplace. below for a discussion of direct threat. “The ADA limits when an employer can ask for health information, but it expressly allows it,” she emphasized. Employers should rely on the CDC, other public health authorities, and reputable medical sources for guidance on emerging symptoms associated with the disease. The ADA never requires an employer to eliminate an essential function as an accommodation for an individual with a disability. May an employer postpone the start date or withdraw a job offer because the individual is 65 years old or pregnant, both of which place them at higher risk from COVID-19? Where a requested accommodation would result in undue hardship, the employer must offer an alternative accommodation if one is available absent undue hardship. (12/16/20). Whether the request is granted will depend on whether the worker is an individual with a disability, and whether there is a reasonable accommodation that can be provided absent undue hardship. The ADA does not interfere with a designated representative of the employer interviewing the employee to get a list of people with whom the employee possibly had contact through the workplace, so that the employer can then take action to notify those who may have come into contact with the employee, without revealing the employee’s identity. Employers and employees should engage in a flexible, interactive process to identify workplace accommodation options that do not constitute an undue hardship (significant difficulty or expense). May an employer take an applicant's temperature as part of a post-offer, pre-employment medical exam? (12/16/20). The American Diabetes Association has a sample physician letter that your provider can use to reduce the time it takes to write a letter supporting your request. No. COVID-19 means a lot more work for families of children with disabilities, but schools can help December 16, 2020 8.14am EST Sandra M. Chafouleas , Emily A. Iovino , University of Connecticut Yes, if it is not obvious or already known, an employer may ask questions or request medical documentation to determine whether the employee's disability necessitates an accommodation, either the one he requested or any other. (4/17/20). An employer may give higher priority to discussing requests for reasonable accommodations that are needed while teleworking, but the employer may begin discussing this request now. Alternatively, if the disability is not obvious or already known, an employer may ask the employee for information to establish that the condition is a disability and what specific limitations require an accommodation. We agree with The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that COVID-19 (coronavirus) is a serious public health threat—and older … Employers may want to plan in advance what supervisors and managers should do if this situation arises and determine who will be responsible for receiving information and taking next steps. How much information may an employer request from an employee who calls in sick, in order to protect the rest of its workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic? COVID-19 put a tremendous strain on programs for people with disabilities. 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. Employers can find OSHA COVID-specific resources at: www.osha.gov/SLTC/covid-19/. Measures that an employer may be taking in general to protect all workers, such as mandatory social distancing, also would be relevant. Employers also should consult applicable Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards and guidance. An employer may consider whether current circumstances create "significant difficulty" in acquiring or providing certain accommodations, considering the facts of the particular job and workplace. Businesses should refer to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Best Practices ... the-covid-19-crisis-02304237 . Also, the undue hardship considerations might be different when evaluating a request for accommodation when teleworking rather than working in the workplace. The ADA Home Page provides access to Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations for businesses and State and local governments, technical assistance materials, ADA Standards for Accessible Design, links to Federal agencies with ADA responsibilities and information, updates on new ADA requirements, streaming video, information about Department of Justice ADA settlement … K.4. (3/17/20). (4/17/20). Copyright © Syracuse University. Employers will need to determine if any other rights apply under the EEO laws or other federal, state, and local authorities. A.5. The FDA has an obligation to: [E]nsure that recipients of the vaccine under an EUA are informed, to the extent practicable under the applicable circumstances, that FDA has authorized the emergency use of the vaccine, of the known and potential benefits and risks, the extent to which such benefits and risks are unknown, that they have the option to accept or refuse the vaccine, and of any available alternatives to the product. An employee who was already receiving a reasonable accommodation prior to the COVID-19 pandemic may be entitled to an additional or altered accommodation, absent undue hardship. 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. (9/8/20; adapted from Pandemic Preparedness Question 6). Also relevant is the amount of discretionary funds available at this time—when considering other expenses—and whether there is an expected date that current restrictions on an employer's operations will be lifted (or new restrictions will be added or substituted). Identifying an effective accommodation depends, among other things, on an employee’s job duties and the design of the workspace. Are there steps an employer should take to address possible harassment and discrimination against coworkers when it re-opens the workplace? The Southeast ADA Center: Disability and COVID-19 includes a wide variety of information; some information is also available in Spanish. If an employee cannot get vaccinated for COVID-19 because of a disability or sincerely held religious belief, practice, or observance, and there is no reasonable accommodation possible, then it would be lawful for the employer to exclude the employee from the workplace. Low-cost solutions achieved with materials already on hand or easily obtained may be effective. But to the extent that is not feasible, the supervisor still must safeguard this information to the greatest extent possible until the supervisor can properly store it. When an employer makes this decision, the facts about particular job duties and workplaces may be relevant. An employer does not have to provide a particular reasonable accommodation if it poses an "undue hardship," which means "significant difficulty or expense." What should she do? By contrast, there are two circumstances in which disability-related screening questions can be asked without needing to satisfy the “job-related and consistent with business necessity” requirement. In the past, the employee therefore continued to come to the workplace. Public health professionals need to recognize disability among the factors driving disparities in COVID-19 infection, testing, and outcomes. If the employer requires an employee to receive the vaccination from the employer (or a third party with whom the employer contracts to administer a vaccine) and asks these screening questions, are these questions subject to the ADA standards for disability-related inquiries? An employer learns that an employee who is teleworking due to the pandemic is sending harassing emails to another worker. Disability:IN has compiled the following resources to support your disability inclusion work during COVID-19. EEOC Updates Information on the ADA and COVID-19. of Health and Human Services (HHS). Employees may request an ADA accommodation at any time. Employers will need to determine if any other rights apply under the EEO laws or other federal, state, and local authorities. (6/11/20). Employers may ask all employees who will be physically entering the workplace if they have COVID-19 or symptoms associated with COVID-19, and ask if they have been tested for COVID-19. 12. This process should include determining whether it is necessary to obtain supporting documentation about the employee’s disability and considering the possible options for accommodation given the nature of the workforce and the employee’s position. ANCOR is advocating for people with developmental and intellectual disabilities to be high on the vaccine priority list. For more information about the ADA, visit ADA.org. People with disabilities, people with chronic health conditions such as heart disease, lung disease, and diabetes, and people over the age 60, are at a higher risk of becoming infected and most likely to become seriously ill. More information about EUA vaccines is available on the FDA’s EUA page. Coronavirus (COVID-19) Plan for the disability services sector The plan is designed to enable disability service providers to continue essential services to people with disability. (6/11/20). 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