Peter J. Richter
Diana M. Eisenberg
March 6, 2020
As concerns about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) grow, employers may have questions about what they can and cannot do with respect to their workforce. Thankfully, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has published a report that offers some guidance. While the report was issued back in October 2009 as the country was dealing with the influenza A (H1N1) virus, it’s especially relevant now as the number of cases of coronavirus increase in the US.
The EEOC’s report, Pandemic Preparedness in the Workplace and The Americans with Disabilities Act, includes instruction on the amount of information an employer may request from an employee who calls in sick, whether employers can require employees to stay home if they have symptoms of a pandemic influenza virus, and the circumstances under which employers can require that an employee returning to work obtain a doctor’s note. According to the EEOC, when the World Health Organization and Center for Disease Controls have identified an influenza pandemic, an employer may send an employee displaying influenza-like symptoms home without violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). However, under the ADA, employers are prohibited from asking asymptomatic employees if they have any medical conditions that might make them susceptible to influenza complications. Additional information can be found at www.eeoc.gov/facts/pandemic_flu.html and we encourage all employers to not only review the report, but to plan for the possibility that the novel coronavirus could impact their workforce.
If you have any questions about how the information in this article may affect you or your business, please contact Peter Richter at firstname.lastname@example.org, Diana Eisenberg at email@example.com or (608) 257‑2281 or your Stroud attorney.
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