By Jill Ripke and Katelyn Sullivan

On July 24, 2020, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) updated its DFEH Employment Information on COVID-19 FAQ in accordance with the ever-changing nature of the pandemic. The DFEH guidance is aimed at answering “frequently asked questions about how to keep workplaces safe during the COVID-19 pandemic while also upholding civil rights.” The FAQ addresses a number of issues for employers arising out of the pandemic, including how much information an employer can request from employees who report feeling ill at work and whether an employee who cannot come to work because of illness related to COVID-19 is entitled to a reasonable accommodation. It also provides guidance as to what information employers may reveal if an employee is quarantined, tests positive for COVID-19, or has come in contact with someone who has the virus. In addition, the DFEH encourages employers to adhere to the latest government guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, the California Department of Public Health, and the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health, while continuing to respect state and federal civil rights laws.

Employers with questions about issues arising out of the pandemic should consult experienced counsel.