On December 14, 2021, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) updated its guidance to affirm that workers who contract COVID-19 can be protected from discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Depending on an individual employee’s specific circumstances, COVID-19 may constitute a protected physical or mental disability, may serve as the basis for an employer’s perception that an employee has a disability, and/or may contribute to a record of employee impairment.
Adam Weiner counsels employers of all sizes regarding discrimination and harassment, wage-and-hour compliance, employee performance management, leaves of absence, handbooks and personnel policies, reductions in force, independent contractors, separation agreements, restrictive covenants, and other labor and employment issues.
Chicago recently enacted an ordinance granting employees rights in connection with getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Employers should be aware of these key provisions:
- An employer may not take adverse action against an employee who gets a vaccine during working hours.
- Regardless of whether an employer mandates vaccination, it cannot mandate that employees receive the vaccine
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released long-awaited Guidance this morning regarding permissible activities and relaxed precautions for individuals who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. An individual is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the second shot of a two-dose vaccine (e.g., Pfizer or Moderna), or two weeks after receiving the single-dose vaccine (e.g., Johnson & Johnson).
Specifically, today’s CDC Guidance states that fully vaccinated individuals may:
- Gather indoors with other fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask;
- Gather indoors with unvaccinated people from one other household (for example, visiting with relatives who all live together) without masks, unless any of those people or anyone they live with has an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19; and
- Refrain from quarantine and testing following a known exposure to COVID-19 if asymptomatic.