The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency that enforces federal non-discrimination laws, has issued two publications addressing employer obligations and restrictions in connection with pandemics. The first one, which was issued during the prior H1N1 outbreak, is still relevant. It can be accessed here. On March 18, 2020, the EEOC issued a second publication specifically dealing with COVID-19. It answers many of the common questions that employers have. It can be accessed here.
The EEOC specifically reminded employers that, while federal non-discrimination laws continue to apply, they do not interfere with or prevent employers from following the guidelines and suggestions made by the CDC or state/local public health authorities about steps employers should take regarding COVID-19. The EEOC also acknowledged that guidance from public health authorities is likely to change as the current pandemic evolves, and that employers should continue to follow the most current information on maintaining workplace safety.
This alert is made available for educational purposes and to provide general information on current legal topics, not to provide specific legal advice. The publication of this alert does not create any attorney-client relationship and should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney.