Many employers are preparing for responses to a possible swine flu pandemic later this year. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has issued technical assistance on the interplay of these preparedness measures with restrictions on medical inquiries under the Americans with Disabilities Act. In its questions and answers, the EEOC states that employers may ask employees about health-related vulnerabilities to the flu, if done in the context of questions over other vulnerabilities, such as child care arrangements in the event of school closings.
Employers may require employees to adopt infection control measures at work, and can require employees to telecommute as an infection control strategy. The guidance does not directly address employers’ ability to require employees who appear sick to leave work and seek medical clearance before returning. However, in similar circumstances, as long as the employer consistently enforces these requirements, the EEOC has allowed employers to exclude visibly sick employees from the workplace.
The guidance can be found at www.eeoc.gov/facts/h1n1_flu.html.