On June 11, 2020, the U.S. Equal Employment Alternative Fee (EEOC) issued an replace to its COVID-19 technical help publication. The replace offers new steering for employers on the subjects of accommodating workers with members of the family at excessive threat of extreme sickness from COVID-19, dealing with pandemic-related harassment, caregiver duties, and being pregnant points. Here’s what you have to know:
Accommodating Staff With Excessive-Threat Household Members
The EEOC affirms that employers should not required to offer lodging to workers with members of the family who’re at excessive threat for COVID-19 because of a member of the family’s underlying medical situation, stating that the “ADA [Americans with Disabilities Act] doesn’t require that an employer accommodate an worker with out a incapacity primarily based on the disability-related wants of a member of the family or different individual with whom she is related.”
Safeguarding In opposition to Harassment
The EEOC added extra suggestions for employers on how you can deal with pandemic-related harassment, notably harassment directed in opposition to workers “who’re or are perceived to be of Chinese language or different Asian nationwide origin.” The EEOC recommends that employers guarantee managers are “alert to demeaning, derogatory, or hostile remarks” directed to such workers and that employers prepare managers on how you can acknowledge harassment and resolve points earlier than they “rise to the extent of illegal discrimination.” The EEOC recommends that employers “ship a reminder to all the workforce noting Title VII’s prohibitions on harassment, reminding workers that harassment won’t be tolerated, and welcoming anybody who experiences or witnesses office harassment to report it to administration.” As well as, the steering states that employers ought to be alert to the identical types of harassment in distant working preparations, similar to harassment by means of emails, social media, or video conferences.
Inviting Superior Dialogue on Lodging or Versatile Work Preparations
The EEOC means that employers invite workers to request lodging previous to returning to the office. The EEOC notes that the ADA permits employers “to make data out there upfront to all workers about who to contact – if they need – to request lodging for a incapacity that they could want upon return to the office, even when no date has been introduced for his or her return.” [Emphasis in original.] The EEOC means that an employer embody within the discover an inventory of the medical situations recognized by the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention (CDC) as putting folks at a better threat for COVID-19 and state that “the employer is keen to contemplate on a case-by-case foundation any requests from workers who’ve these or different medical situations.” The EEOC additionally notes that the employer ought to guarantee those that are designated to obtain such requests are educated on how you can deal with them in accordance with federal anti-discrimination legal guidelines.
Lodging for Worker Screening
As to workers coming into the worksite who request an alternate methodology of screening because of a medical situation, the EEOC observes that such a request ought to be handled as a request for an inexpensive lodging below the ADA and that the employer “ought to proceed as it could for another request for lodging below the ADA.” The EEOC states that the employer might ask the worker for data to ascertain the worker’s situation is a incapacity (if it’s not apparent or already identified) and to find out what particular limitations might require an lodging, together with by requesting medical documentation when crucial. The EEOC notes that the identical ADA lodging apply to this case, such that employers ought to decide if they will present an efficient cheap lodging with out an undue hardship. Equally, the EEOC states that an alternate methodology of screening could also be required as a non secular lodging below Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The EEOC added a brand new part to its steering on the subject of age discrimination, noting that “[t]he CDC has defined that people age 65 and older are at larger threat for a extreme case of COVID-19” The EEOC notes that the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) prohibits discrimination in opposition to workers age 40 or older and subsequently prohibits an employer “from involuntarily excluding a person from the office primarily based on his or her being 65 or older, even when the employer acted for benevolent causes similar to defending the worker because of larger threat of extreme sickness from COVID-19.” The EEOC factors out that the ADEA doesn’t require lodging on account of age, not like incapacity lodging required by the ADA, however employers might voluntarily present lodging to workers age 65 and older “even when it leads to youthful staff ages 40-64 being handled much less favorably primarily based on age as compared.”
Caregivers and Household Duties
The EEOC additionally added a brand new part pertaining to caregiver and household duties and addressing whether or not there are “intercourse discrimination issues” when an employer offers distant working preparations or different advantages to workers with school-aged youngsters affected by pandemic-related faculty closures. The EEOC states that employers might present any versatile preparations or advantages, as long as workers should not handled in a different way primarily based on intercourse or different protected traits. For instance, employers might not present extra favorable remedy to feminine mother and father in comparison with male mother and father due to the employer’s “gender-based assumption about who might have caretaking duties for youngsters.”
Lastly, the EEOC added a brand new part pertaining to being pregnant. The EEOC reminds employers that they could not exclude an worker from the office involuntarily because of being pregnant, even when motivated by benevolent issues. The EEOC additionally notes that pregnant workers could also be entitled to lodging below the ADA because of pregnancy-related medical situations, and that Title VII might require offering the identical sort of job modifications or versatile work preparations to pregnant workers as are afforded to different workers equally unable to work.
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