On March 17, 2020, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) posted an article on its website, “What You Should Know About the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and COVID-19.”  The article confirms that workplace anti-discrimination laws enforced by the EEOC remain applicable, but that nothing in those laws interferes with or prevents “employers from following the guidelines and suggestions made by the CDC or state/local public health authorities about steps employers should take regarding COVID-19.”

In addition, the article provides a link to guidance the EEOC published in 2009 in response to the H1N1 outbreak: Pandemic Preparedness in the Workplace and the Americans With Disabilities Act (“2009 Guidance”), which remains relevant. The 2009 Guidance contains frequently asked questions (“FAQs”), which are answered by reference to established ADA and Rehabilitation Act principles and includes a separate FAQ section addressing what to do after a pandemic has been declared, including:

The EEOC’s article serves as a reminder that even in an evolving and challenging pandemic emergency, the principles underlying nondiscrimination in the workplace remain constant.