Teaming Up with Tim Wells & Mel Jones: EEOC's Pandemic Guidance for Employers

Posted on 06/01/2020 12:00 am  /   May/June 2020

Earlier this month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated strategies and recommendations to the interim guidance for businesses and employers responding to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). In addition to a table outlining the engineering controls, administrative controls and personal protective equipment (PPE) that employers may use to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace. The CDC also provided clarity around those seeking to resume normal or phase business operations including:

  • Conducting daily health checks
  • Conducting a hazard assessment of the workplace
  • Encouraging employees to wear cloth face coverings in the workplace, if appropriate
  • Implementing policies and practices for social distancing in the workplace
  • Improving the building ventilation system

On May 7,2020, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) also released additional guidance about how employers should comply with the Americans with Disabilities ACT (ADA) consistent with the CDCs workplace protection rules during the coronavirus pandemic.

The EEOC's pandemic guidance identifies relevant established ADA and Rehabilitation Act principles and answers frequently asked about the workplace during Coronavirus-like events such as:

  • How much information may an employer request from an employee who calls in sick, in order to protect the rest of its workforce during a Coronavirus-like event?
  • When may an ADA-covered employer take the body temperature of employees during a Coronavirus-like event?
  • Does the ADA allow employers to require employees to stay home if they have symptoms of the Coronavirus?
  • When employees return to work, does the ADA allow employers to require doctors' notes certifying their fitness for duty?

The ADA applies to private employers with 15 or more employees. If you work for a smaller employer, you should comply with state and local disability and anti-discrimination laws.

If you have questions or need additional guidance, please don't hesitate to reach out to both Tim & Mel.

Tim Wells
SHRM of Greater St. Louis
Past President
[email protected]

Mel Jones
SHRM of Greater St. Louis
VP of Membership
[email protected]