EEOC Issues New Q&As on Employees Returning to Work

As businesses begin preparing for the eventual re-opening of their workplaces, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission today updated its list of coronavirus-related questions and answers to include a section on returning to work. The new Q&As clarify that as government stay-at-home orders and other restrictions are modified or lifted in an employer’s area, employers may implement any employee screening that is consistent with advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and public health authorities for their workplace.

The new FAQs also clarify that an employer may require returning employees to wear protective gear (for example, masks and gloves) and observe infection control practices (for example, regular hand washing and social distancing protocols). The EEOC noted that where an employee with a disability needs a related reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act or a religious accommodation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the employer should discuss the request and provide the modification or an alternative if feasible and not an undue hardship on the operation of the employer’s business under the ADA or Title VII.