Federal Manager's Daily Report

Employers may require that employees returning to work after being out sick have a doctor’s note certifying that they are fit for duty.

The EEOC has issued guidance on what management officials or employers may ask and do regarding Coronavirus and their employees under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act, both of which apply to federal agencies as well as in the private sector.

Those laws continue to apply “but they do not interfere with or prevent employers from following the guidelines and suggestions made by the CDC or state/local public health authorities about steps employers should take” it said.

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It said that guidance it issued several years ago during the H1N1 outbreak applies equally to Coronavirus now that it has been declared a pandemic, including that employers may:

* ask employees who all in sick if they are experiencing symptoms of the pandemic virus. “For COVID-19, these include symptoms such as fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, or sore throat. Employers must maintain all information about employee illness as a confidential medical record in compliance with the ADA.”

* measure employees’ body temperature. “However, employers should be aware that some people with COVID-19 do not have a fever.”

* require that employees who become ill with symptoms of leave the workplace.

* require that employees returning to work after being out sick have a doctor’s note certifying that they are fit for duty. “As a practical matter, however, doctors and other health care professionals may be too busy during and immediately after a pandemic outbreak to provide fitness-for-duty documentation. Therefore, new approaches may be necessary, such as reliance on local clinics to provide a form, a stamp, or an e-mail to certify that an individual does not have the pandemic virus.”

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Federal Manager’s Handbook, 5th Ed.