EEOC Updates Guidance on COVID-19, Vaccines and the ADA
On May 28, 2021, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued updated and additional answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about how employers should comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other federal fair employment laws while also observing all applicable emergency workplace safety guidelines during the coronavirus pandemic.
The new and updated FAQs address whether employers may require or provide incentives for employees to receive COVID-19 vaccinations. They were added to guidance that the EEOC first issued on March 18, 2020, and then updated several times. The last update was made in December 2020.
This Compliance Bulletin contains the EEOC’s updated FAQs in full, which draw from the EEOC’s existing pandemic publication, Pandemic Preparedness in the Workplace and the ADA, to help employers navigate workplace issues related to the COVID-19. The updated and newly added FAQs about vaccinations begin on page 19 of this document.
Employers are subject to the ADA if they have 15 or more employees. Smaller employers may be subject to similar rules under applicable state or local laws.
ADA Rules Still Apply but Do Not Prevent Safety Measures
Employers must follow ADA rules while observing emergency guidelines issued by federal, state and local health authorities during the pandemic.
The EEOC’s pandemic guidance clarifies that employers may:
- Require employees to receive COVID-19 vaccinations (but may need to accommodate certain refusals);
- Ask employees if they have COVID-19 or its symptoms;
- Require employees to stay home (and to provide medical notes before returning to work) if they have COVID-19 or its symptoms; and
- Screen applicants for COVID-19 symptoms after making conditional job offers.
Download the full PDF here – EEOC Updates Guidance on COVID-19, Vaccines and the ADA