EEOC Issues Updated Technical Assistance Document Related to ADA Compliance and Pandemic Preparedness
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued an updated Technical Assistance Document (TAD) – Pandemic Preparedness in the Workplace and the Americans with Disabilities Act – to address how employers may prepare their workplaces for pandemic influenza outbreaks and still remain in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The TAD was amended in response to employers’ frequently asked questions about workplace preparation for, and reaction to, outbreaks of the H1N1 virus, which has become more widespread in recent months.
The TAD addresses such questions as:
- How much information may an employer request from an employee who calls in sick, in order to protect the rest of its workforce when an influenza pandemic appears imminent?
- When may an ADA-covered employer take the body temperature of employees during a pandemic?
- Does the ADA allow employers to require employees to stay home if they have symptoms of the pandemic influenza virus?
- When employees return to work, does the ADA allow employers to require doctors’ notes certifying their fitness for duty?
The document also provides, in a question and answer format, information to help employers develop a plan to manage their workplace in an ADA-compliant manner both before and during a potential outbreak. In addition, the TAD explains when inquires about an employee’s health are permissible, and when they could be considered disability-related and thus potentially violate the ADA.