Many California employees are starting to return from furloughs and remote work which was used to comply with state regulations and mitigate risk during the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes may elderly and pregnant workers who are at higher risk for severe complications if they become infected with Coronavirus. Employers are prohibited by the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) from keeping these at-risk employees from working if they want to; this may lead to discrimination claims.
Discrimination claims also arise from violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which requires reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities or who have elevated risk for serious cases of COVID-19. It is important for employees as well as employers to know California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) mandates that any employer with five or more workers make reasonable accommodations if appropriate; however, many employers and employees alike fail to understand what that means.
EEOC Accommodation Guidance