Although there was no major public announcement, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) published several major updates as it relates to COVID-19 that are worthy of employers’ utmost attention. The updates include new symptoms to screen for as well as information around reasonable accommodation for high-risk individuals. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) pandemic guidance provides employers with significant leeway concerning the information they can seek from employees during this crisis.
Employers have the go-ahead to screen employees entering the physical workspace to contain the spread of the virus. Screening methods may include administering COVID-19 tests, taking the temperature of employees or asking them if they have experienced any of the CDC-listed COVID-19 symptoms. With updated guidelines from the CDC, employees should now be screened for four additional symptoms: congestion, runny nose, nausea and diarrhea. A full list of COVID-19 symptoms as noted by the CDC can be found here.
With relation to the current COVID-19 pandemic, the EEOC has stated that employees with an underlying medical condition that puts them at greater risk of a severe outcome from COVID-19 must be provided reasonable accommodations. Employers may need to be prepared to offer reasonable accommodations for at-risk individuals, per this CDC guidance. Reasonable accommodations may include altering the workplace or how the employee works, such as allowing telework. Employers are obligated, under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), to provide reasonable accommodation to employees with disabilities so long as such requests do not pose an undue burden to the business. This update increases the number of employees who could be considered at a higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Employers need to familiarize themselves with the updated CDC list so that they can more readily and properly identify potential ADA claims.
Aldrich is Here to Help
As always, your Aldrich Benefits team is here to provide support for you however we can during these rapidly changing times. For further information, please contact your advisor. For more employer resources to help you navigate the developing impact of coronavirus on your business, visit our COVID-19 Resource Center.
The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only. Readers of this website should contact their attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular legal matter.
Meet the Author
Employee Benefits Consultant
Aldrich Benefits LP
Evan Cole partners with his clients to advise and assist them with their employee benefit plans, specializing in group and association plans. Prior to joining Aldrich, Evan was a top producing employee benefits representative for one of the nation’s largest life, disability, and dental carriers. He holds licenses for life and health in the states…
- Employee benefits