May 18, 2023
Source: U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
Addresses End of Federal COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Declaration
Today the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued a number of updates to its COVID-19 technical assistance, “What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws,” including adding a new question and answer about the end of the federal declaration of the COVID-19 public health emergency.
“This installment is the capstone to our comprehensive resource of questions and answers on COVID-19 and the anti-discrimination laws enforced by the EEOC,” said EEOC Chair Charlotte A. Burrows. “The end of the public health emergency is an important milestone, and this will help employees and employers understand how the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act, and other federal laws continue to protect our nation’s workforce from employment discrimination. The EEOC remains committed to vigorous enforcement of these laws.”
Key updates include:
- The end of the COVID-19 public health emergency does not mean employers can automatically terminate reasonable accommodations that were provided due to pandemic-related circumstances. However, employers may evaluate accommodations granted during the public health emergency, and, in consultation with the employee, assess whether there continues to be a need for reasonable accommodation based on individualized circumstances.
- For employees with Long COVID, the updates include common examples of possible reasonable accommodations, including a quiet workspace, use of noise cancelling devices, and uninterrupted worktime to address brain fog; alternative lighting and reducing glare to address headaches; rest breaks to address joint pain or shortness of breath; a flexible schedule or telework to address fatigue; and removal of “marginal functions” that involve physical exertion to address shortness of breath. Many of these are low or no-cost accommodations.
- For employers, the updates include tips about remaining alert for COVID-related harassment of applicants or employees with a disability-related need to continue wearing a face mask or take other COVID-19 precautions at work.
The EEOC updated the COVID-19 technical assistance approximately 20 times throughout the pandemic to respond to the evolving situation.
The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information about the EEOC is available at www.eeoc.gov.
Source Link: https://www.eeoc.gov/newsroom/eeoc-releases-update-covid-19-technical-assistance