- Employers cannot automatically revoke reasonable accommodations related to COVID-19, despite the dissolution of the “public health emergency” status for the pandemic, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission cautioned employers Monday. “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,” the agency said.
- The warning came as EEOC announced updates to its technical guidance, “What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws,” including additional accommodation examples and tips for preventing COVID-related harassment.
- The EEOC highlighted that accommodations include low-cost or free measures, such as uninterrupted work time, a quiet workspace or noise-canceling headphones to facilitate that.
Mask and vaccine mandates have been a COVID-19 compliance concern since March 2020. But long COVID, how to treat it and how to manage its intersection with daily life, has become a developing compliance issue.
EEOC Chair Charlotte A. Burrows said in a statement that these updates create a “capstone” to the agency’s “comprehensive resource of questions and answers” on anti-discrimination laws concerning COVID-19.
While employers shouldn’t immediately pull pandemic-era COVID accommodations, Burrows said that in turn, the end of the public health emergency can be a teachable moment. “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,” Burrows continued. “The EEOC remains committed to vigorous enforcement of these laws.”