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The Americans with Disabilities Act does not require employers to accommodate workers who want to avoid exposing family members who are at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says in the latest update of its pandemic guidance.
The EEOC first issued guidance in March on dealing with the virus without risking violating antidiscrimination laws and has issued subsequent updates.
In guidance issued Thursday, the EEOC said the ADA does not require an employer to accommodate an employee without a disability based on a family member’s or other person’s disability-related needs, including offering them telework.
“Of course, an employer is free to provide such flexibility if it chooses to do so” but should be careful not to offer additional flexibilities on a disparate basis, the guidance says.
The updated guidance also says an employer cannot exclude an employee from the workplace involuntarily because of pregnancy.
Employers, though, must consider requests for reasonable accommodation “under the usual ADA rules” due to a pregnancy-related medical condition, the guidance says.
Pregnant employees may also be entitled to job modifications, including telework, changes to work schedules or assignments, and leave to the extent provided other employees, it states.
Other new guidance includes: