EEOC Compliance And The Covid-19 Pandemic

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July 22, 2020

After Covid-19 was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission made clear it would give employers leeway to implement certain infection control strategies that absent a pandemic would violate federal discrimination laws. Temporary new rules apply to both current employees and applicants, and they allow such things as asking employees who report feeling sick about their symptoms, taking temperatures, and requiring employees with Covid-19 symptoms to stay home. A caveat to these and other permitted protocols is that the records they generate must be kept confidential and separate from an employee’s personal file (with certain exceptions, including the provision that public health officials may be notified when an employee is determined to have Covid-19). Also of note: Even under the temporary rules, the fact an employee is in a high-risk group – is 65 or older, for example – will not justify exclusion from the workplace.

 

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