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By: Jennifer Markowski
Last week, Brad Adler, addressed FAQ’s (and Answers) for Employers Dealing with the Coronavirus, COVID-19. Subsequent to that article, on March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (“WHO”) declared COVID-19 a pandemic. Consequently, employers should follow the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (“EEOC”) pandemic guidance “Pandemic Preparedness in the Workplace and the ADA,” which details what medical inquiries and testing are permissible in the workplace in light of the existing pandemic.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) prohibits employers from making disability-related inquiries and/or requiring employees to submit to medical examinations unless they are job-related and consistent with business necessity. Now that COVID-19 has been declared a pandemic, according to the EEOC guidance, employers can do the following without running afoul of the ADA:
As always, information obtained about an employee’s medical illness must be kept confidential and separate from the employee’s personnel file and can only be shared with individuals on a need to know basis. Additionally, if an employee receives ADA accommodations in the workplace and is then required to telework, those same accommodations should be provided for in the telework space, unless doing so would create an undue hardship.
The Occupational Safety and Health Organization (“OSHA”) has also issued guidance for pandemic preparedness. Those guidelines are accessible here.
In addition, FMG has formed a Coronavirus Task Force to provide up-to-the-minute information, strategic advice, and practical solutions for our clients. Our group is an interdisciplinary team of attorneys who can address the multitude of legal issues arising out of the coronavirus pandemic, including issues related to Healthcare, Product Liability, Tort Liability, Data Privacy, and Cyber and Local Governments. For more information about the Task Force, click here.
You can also contact your FMG relationship partner or email the team with any questions at [email protected].