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The EEOC enforces workplace anti-discrimination laws, including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act (which include the requirement for reasonable accommodation and non-discrimination based on disability, and rules about employer medical examinations and inquiries), Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (which prohibits discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, and sex, including pregnancy), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (which prohibits discrimination based on age, 40 or older), and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act. Note: Other federal laws, as well as state or local laws, may provide employees with additional protections.
Title I of the ADA applies to private employers with 15 or more employees. It also applies to state and local government employers, employment agencies, and labor unions. All nondiscrimination standards under Title I of the ADA also apply to federal agencies under Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act. Basic background information about the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act is available on EEOC's disability page.
The EEO laws, including the ADA and Rehabilitation Act, continue to apply during the time of the COVID-19 pandemic, but 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. Employers should remember that guidance from public health authorities is likely to change as the COVID-19 pandemic evolves. Therefore, employers should continue to follow the most current information on maintaining workplace safety. Many common workplace inquiries about the COVID-19 pandemic are addressed in the CDC publication “General Business Frequently Asked Questions.”
The EEOC has provided guidance (a publication entitled Pandemic Preparedness in the Workplace and the Americans With Disabilities Act [PDF version]) ("Pandemic Preparedness"), consistent with these workplace protections and rules, that can help employers implement strategies to navigate the impact of COVID-19 in the workplace. This pandemic publication, which was written during the prior H1N1 outbreak, is still relevant today and identifies established ADA and Rehabilitation Act principles to answer questions frequently asked about the workplace during a pandemic. It has been updated as of March 19, 2020 to address examples and information regarding COVID-19; the new 2020 information appears in bold and is marked with an asterisk.
On March 27, 2020 the EEOC provided a webinar ("3/27/20 Webinar") which was recorded and transcribed and is available at www.eeoc.gov/coronavirus. The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared COVID-19 to be an international pandemic. Discussion on the following topics
1. Disability-Related Inquiries and Medical Exams
2. Confidentiality of Medical Information
3. Hiring and Onboarding
4. Reasonable Accommodation
5. Pandemic-Related Harassment Due to National Origin, Race, or Other Protected Characteristics
6. Furloughs and Layoffs
7. Return to Work
9. Caregivers/Family Responsibilities
Margie Faulk, PHR, SHRM-CP is a senior level human resources professional with over 14 years of HR management and compliance experience. A former Compliance Officer for a defense contracting technologies firm, Margie has worked as an HR and Compliance advisor for major corporations and small businesses in the small, large, private, public and Non-profit sectors. Margie is bilingual (Spanish) fluent and Bi-cultural.
Margie’s focus is on multi-state, national, state and local workplace compliance. Additionally, Margie is working on International compliance initiatives globally which includes workplace compliance in other countries like the UK, Canada, France, Brazil, China, Africa, Mexico and India, just to name a few.
Margie has created and presented seminars/webinars for many compliance institutes. These national training providers, offer compliance training to professionals, business owners and companies interested in having their company compliant with workplace and industry regulations.
Margie holds professional human resources certification (PHR) from the HR Certification Institution (HRCI) and SHRM-CP certification from Society for Human Resources Management. Margie has completed the Certified Compliance and Ethics Professional training and is a member of the Society of Corporate Compliance & Ethics (SCCE).