December 1, 2020

Volume X, Number 336


December 01, 2020

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November 30, 2020

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EEOC Releases Recorded Webinar Addressing Important Questions

The EEOC published a recorded webinar on March 27.  The EEOC uses a Q and A format to address 22 common questions from employers covering a broad range of topics including among other things, taking employees temperatures, appropriate and inappropriate disclosure of information related to an employee’s COVID-19 diagnosis, and managing employee accommodation requests including requests from employees in the high risk categories identified by the CDC.  The EEOC emphasized that none of the laws the EEOC enforces, including the ADA, interferes with or prevents employers from following the guidance of the CDC or other public health authorities.

As the employer community attempts to navigate the current pandemic crisis and EEO law, one of the most common questions from employers is whether the ADA permits employers to notify public health authorities if they learn an employee has COVID-19.  The EEOC explained yes, the ADA permits employers to notify public health authorities because COVID-19 poses a direct threat to both those with the disease and those with whom they come into contact. The EEOC, however, did not clarify whether an employer is permitted to identify the individual by name.   The EEOC also addressed the information that can be shared with the workforce under these circumstances:

  1. Employers may be concerned that telling employees that “someone at this location” or “someone on the 4th Floor” has COVID-19 may not provide sufficient information to allow people to know if they should take further steps to protect themselves or others.  Therefore, can employers tell the workforce the name of the employee with COVID-19?   

 No.  The ADA does not permit such a broad disclosure of the medical condition of a specific employee.  More importantly, this broad disclosure is not recommended by the CDC.  The CDC advises employers to maintain confidentiality of people with COVID-19.

The EEOC’s webinar supplements the EEOC’s existing publications: “What You Should Know About the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and COVID-19” and “Pandemic Preparedness in the Workplace and the Americans with Disabilities Act“.

Jackson Lewis P.C. © 2020National Law Review, Volume X, Number 89



About this Author

Patricia Anderson Pryor, Class Action, Litigator
Principal and Office Litigation Manager

Patricia Anderson Pryor is a Shareholder in the Cincinnati, Ohio office of Jackson Lewis P.C. Ms. Pryor is an experienced litigator in both state and federal courts, representing and defending employers in nearly every form of employment litigation, including class actions.

She represents and advises employers in federal and state administrative proceedings, in all forms of dispute resolution, including mediation and arbitration, and in managing all aspects of the employment relationship. She has represented...

Tara Burke Employment lawyer Jackson Lewis
Of Counsel

Tara K. Burke is Of Counsel in the Cincinnati, Ohio, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. She works with employers to build positive and inclusive workplaces and reduce legal risk through policy development, training, and employment law counseling.  

Ms. Burke provides practical and legal advice to clients on employment law issues including harassment and discrimination prevention, diversity and inclusion, hiring and interviewing, internal investigations, disability accommodation and leave management, reductions in force, individual separations and employee relations...