On Dec. 14, 2021, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued additional answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about how employers should comply with Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act (Title VII), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other federal fair employment laws while also observing all applicable emergency workplace safety guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Among other things, the EEOC’s new FAQs clarify that:

    • Determining whether a specific employee’s COVID-19 is a disability under the ADA always requires an individualized assessment; 
    • COVID-19 is an actual disability if it is a “physical or mental” impairment that “substantially limits one or more major life activities”;
    • Employers must provide reasonable accommodations for individuals whose COVID-19 is an actual, past or misclassified disability; and
    • Even if COVID-19 itself does not meet the ADA’s definition of a disability, it may cause later impairments that do. 

The 14 new FAQs are included in the new section “N. COVID-19 and the ADA’s Definition of ‘Disability’.” and added to the guidance that the EEOC initially issued on March 17, 2020 and updated several times since.

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Employer Next Steps: 

    • All employers should follow the most current guidelines and suggestions for maintaining workplace safety, as issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and any applicable state or local health agencies.
    • Employers with 15 or more employees should also become familiar with and follow the guidance provided in the EEOC’s FAQs about ADA compliance.
    • These and all smaller employers should ensure that they comply with state and local anti-discrimination laws as well.
See also  2021 ACA Reporting Instructions Issued

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This blog and its contents are not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. Readers should contact legal counsel for legal advice.