EEOC Issues Guidance on Returning to Work After Quarantine

With many states now beginning the process of winding down their quarantine, many businesses that have been shuttered are now looking at reopening and inviting their employees back to work. However, reopening after the pandemic carries with it many questions, including what obligation employers have with respect to protecting their employees. Fortunately, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued guidance, telling employers how best to reopen for business.

The new EEOC guidance addresses a few major issues related to easing off the quarantine, including ADA guidance on providing personal protective equipment (PPE) to employees who are particularly vulnerable to coronavirus infection. The EEOC notes that ADA guidelines are still in effect, which temporarily means making reasonable accommodations for employees with certain health conditions, such as providing PPE and taking cautionary measures to maintain a sanitary work environment. Employers may also require employees to wear protective gear to prevent the spread of infection, even in environments where such gear would not normally be required.

On the other hand, employers may also make limited medical inquiries into an employee’s health, such as taking an employee’s temperature or requiring they receive a medical exam before they can return to work. They can also prevent a person from returning to work if they have a medical condition that is a “direct threat” to the people around them, such as testing positive for coronavirus infection. The EEOC notes these medical exams should still be limited to conditions which are job-related and consistent with business necessity.

If you have gotten into a legal dispute with your employer, it is important that you seek the guidance of an experienced New York employment lawyer who can protect your legal rights and advocate on your behalf. Steven Mitchell Sack, the Employee’s Lawyer, is a New York employment lawyer with more than 39 years’ experience handling the many aspects of employment law. To schedule an appointment with New York City employment lawyer Steven Mitchell Sack, call (917) 371-8000.

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