The COVID-19 pandemic brought unprecedented changes and challenges to the American workplace, for employers and employees alike. The resources below can help employers protect the health and safety of their employees during the COVID-19 pandemic as well as during the recovery. Using these resources, employers can better understand the intersection between the pandemic and disability policies and practices for creating inclusive workplaces.
EARN COVID-19 Resources
- Disability-Inclusive COVID-19 Workplace Health and Safety Plans: Highlights components of disability-inclusive COVID-19 health and safety plans for reopening workplaces.
- COVID-19 and Job Applicants and Employees with Disabilities: Emerging Practices to Employ and Protect Workers: Provides guidance to facilitate the employment, health, and safety of job applicants and employees with disabilities.
- EARN Policy Brief: Adopting an Integrated Telework Policy for Employees With and Without Disabilities: provides a framework for adopting an integrated telework policy applicable to all employees, including employees with disabilities.
Employer COVID-19 Response Stories
- CVS Health: Highlights the company’s efforts to support current employees and onboard new staff to meet increased workforce needs.
- EY: Describes the company’s commitment to supporting employee mental health and ensuring a disability-inclusive response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Merck: Explains how having existing mental health and wellbeing programs in place has proven beneficial in responding to employees’ needs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- March/April Newsletter Special Edition on COVID-19: Provides resources that can assist employers and others in understanding the intersection between the pandemic and disability employment policies and practices.
- Getting Ahead of the Curve: Ensuring Safe, Healthy and Inclusive Workplaces During the COVID-19 Recovery (April 30, 2021): Representatives from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) discuss ways employers can ensure safe and healthy workplaces for all workers, including those with disabilities, during the COVID-19 recovery.
- The ADA at Work: Considerations for COVID-19 (April 1, 2020): Features a discussion about balancing guidance on COVID-19 containment from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with Equal Employment Opportunity Commission guidance on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
COVID-19, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), & Other Laws & Regulations
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Resources: The EEOC offers information and guidance on disability employment related topics and COVID-19. These resources relate to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Age Discrimination and Employment Act, and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act. In addition, it has information on confidentiality of medical information, disability-related inquiries and medical exams, hiring and onboarding, reasonable accommodation, return to the workplace, and vaccinations.
- Coronavirus and COVID-19 Webpage: Consolidates EEOC’s relevant COVID-19 information and answers questions from the public about the equal employment opportunity (EEO) laws and COVID-19.
- What You Should Know about COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws Article: Addresses topics such as disability-related inquiries and medical exams; confidentiality of medical information; hiring and onboarding; reasonable accommodation; return to the workplace; and vaccinations in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. It also addresses what an employer should know about COVID-19 and other EEO laws.
- Pandemic Preparedness in the Workplace and the Americans with Disabilities Act Article: Provides background information on pandemics and ADA requirements and standards. It addresses topics such as disability-related inquiries and medical examinations, direct threat affirmative defense, and reasonable accommodations.
- Federal Laws Protect You Against Employment Discrimination During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Fact sheet from the EEOC explains how federal laws protecting workers from employment discrimination apply during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Webinar: Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Laws and the COVID-19 Pandemic (March 27, 2020): A pre-recorded webinar addressing questions arising under any of the federal EEO Laws and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Job Accommodation Network Resources: The U.S. Department of Labor-funded Job Accommodation Network’s (JAN) COVID-19 webpage offers compliance assistance and practical job accommodation strategies for returning individuals with disabilities to work during the COVID-19 pandemic. Other JAN resources include:
- Accommodating Employees with COVID-19-Related Symptoms: Blog post helps employers understand how to accommodate employees with COVID-19 and those who have recovered, but have long-term effects from the virus. It also addresses whether COVID-19 is considered a disability under the ADA.
- Accommodation Strategies for Returning to Work During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Lists solutions for limiting exposure risk, addressing physical distancing needs, and addressing communications needs.
- COVID-19 Long Haulers and the Americans with Disabilities Act: Blog post provides information on workplace accommodations for employees who have long-term effects from COVID-19.
- Coronavirus (COVID-19), Stress and Mental Health Conditions: Recognizes that temporary accommodations may help all employees who are feeling increased stress and facing personal difficulties at this time, and provides information on the ADA and the coronavirus and accommodation compliance.
- Engaging in the Interactive Process During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Offers practical accommodation solutions and ADA guidance on managing COVID-19-related accommodation requests.
- Mandatory Flu Vaccination Requirements 2.0: Examines how vaccine requirements in the workplace interact with the ADA, as businesses consider the 2020-2021 flu season in addition to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Masks for COVID-19 Management & ADA Accommodations: Answers a series of questions about wearing masks in the workplace as an accommodation.
- Requesting and Negotiating Accommodations During the Pandemic: Blog post explores ways employers can provide COVID-19 related accommodations for employees and offer tips for employees on how to request them.
- The ADA and Managing Reasonable Accommodation Requests from Employees with Disabilities in Response to COVID-19: Answers questions addressing ADA and accommodation issues for which employers may need guidance.
U.S. Department of Labor COVID-19 Quick Employment Tip: Reasonable Accommodations: This 30-second video highlights resources on reasonable accommodations and COVID-19 available from JAN.
Telework as an Accommodation
Job Accommodation Network (JAN) Resources on Telework:
- Make Telework Work: Common accommodation strategies that can be applied in the at-home setting for employees who are new to telework or have been teleworking.
- Teleconference Accessibility and Hearing-Keeping Deaf and Hard of Hearing Employees in the Loop: A compilation of tips for making teleconferencing accessible for those who are deaf or hard of hearing.
Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology Resources on Telework: The U.S. Department of Labor-funded Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology (PEAT) offers resources on telework and technological accessibility.
- Telework and Accessibility Toolkit: A comprehensive list of resources to help support accessible telework and ensure digital communications and platforms are as accessible as possible for everyone, including people with disabilities.
- Telework Accessibility and the Law: A resource covering U.S. policies that apply to telework accessibility and accessibility of telework tools for private and public employers who offer telework.
- Tips for Being an Effective Teleworker: Teleworking strategies and best practices for employers and employees to successfully work in a remote environment.
- How to Pick an Accessible Virtual Meeting Platform: Tips to evaluate the accessibility of a virtual meeting platform with steps to procure accessible technology.
- 7 Steps to Make Your Virtual Presentations Accessible: A step-by-step guide for making virtual presentations accessible before, during, and after the event.
- Checklist for an Accessible Virtual Meeting & Presentation: A checklist to help users ensure their virtual meetings and presentations are accessible.
Supporting Employee Mental Health During COVID-19
- EARN’s Mental Health Toolkit: Offers resources that can help employers learn more about mental health issues and cultivate a welcoming and supportive work environment for employees who may be facing mental health issues, during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
- Job Accommodation Network (JAN) Coronavirus (COVID-19), Stress, and Mental Health Conditions: A blog post that recognizes that temporary accommodations may help all employees who are feeling increased stress and facing personal difficulties at this time. The blog provides information on the ADA and the coronavirus as well as accommodation compliance.
- U.S. Department of Labor COVID-19 Quick Employment Tips: Mental Health: This 30-second video discusses supporting workers’ mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Workplace Health & Safety
U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA): OSHA offers resources to help employers and workers prepare for and respond to COVID-19 in the workplace.
- COVID-19 Resources Webpage: Contains OSHA requirements, guidance and information for implementing COVID-19 procedures to prevent exposure, infection and spreading in the workplace.
- Protecting Workers: Guidance on Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace: Guidance was issued on January 29, 2021 and updated on June 10, 2021. It is intended to help employers and workers identify COVID-19 exposure risks to workers who are unvaccinated or otherwise at-risk, and help them take appropriate steps to prevent exposure and infection.
- Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19: A series of questions and answers related to the workplace and the COVID-19 pandemic, including information on cleaning and disinfecting, safety in the construction industry, personal protective equipment, and more.
- Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19: Contains advisory recommendations and descriptions of mandatory safety and health standards to help employers prepare workplaces for COVID-19 to reduce the impact of the outbreak conditions on businesses, workers, customers, and the public.
- Guidance on Controlling and Preventing COVID-19 at Work: General guidance to inform all U.S. workers and employers about ways to control and prevent COVID-19, including guidance for low-risk and high-risk job tasks, conducting health screenings, identifying and isolating suspected cases, and more.
- Guidance for Employers on Returning to Work During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Helps employers to develop and implement strategies for basic hygiene, social distancing, identification and isolation of sick employees, workplace controls and flexibilities and employee training as employees return to work.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Provides guidance to employers and others about people who may be at increased risk of COVID-19, including those with certain health conditions. It also suggests precautions and workplace safety during the pandemic.
- Workplace safety and returning to work: Information for businesses about workplace safety and returning to work during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Key Things to Know about COVID-19 Vaccines: Includes an overview of vaccine information, availability, cost, effectiveness, safety and more.
- Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People: Describes the type of activities people can do once fully vaccinated.
- Guidance for Vaccinating Older Adults and People with Disabilities: Ensuring Equitable COVID-19 Vaccine Access: Summarizes what jurisdictions should consider when planning to vaccinate older adults and people with disabilities in the community. It also provides considerations to help jurisdictions ensure equal opportunities for vaccination of these populations.
- Vaccinations Webpage: Offers a tool that provides information about when an individual might be eligible for the vaccine in a particular state and provides the demographic breakdowns for each phase.
- Workplace Vaccination Programs: Information about making COVID-19 vaccinations part of a company’s wellness program offers many benefits to the company and its employees.
- COVID-19 Vaccination Program Operational Guidance: Updated guidance that includes information about access issues for people with disabilities, including vaccination location accessibility and access issues related to scheduling appointments.
- Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting Public Spaces, Workplaces, Businesses, Schools and Homes: CDC guidance about cleaning and disinfecting public spaces, workplaces, businesses, schools and homes to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
- Guidance for Handlers of Service and Therapy Animals: Information about COVID-19 in relation to the use of service and therapy animals, including vaccination and prevention information for service animal handlers and members of their household.
- Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers Responding to Coronavirus Disease 2019: Includes guidance for businesses and employers to plan, prepare, and respond to COVID-19.
- Interim Guidance for SARS-CoV-2 Testing in Non-Healthcare Workplaces: Provide strategies for incorporating testing for COVID-19 into workplace preparedness, response and control plans.
- Resources to Help Businesses and Workplaces Plan, Prepare, and Respond to COVID-19: Includes three recorded conference calls, as well as guidance on deciding when to open, mitigation strategies, and prevention and support.
- Returning to Work Webpage: Updated guidance includes considerations for returning to work and how to protect yourself and others in the workplace.
- Toolkit for Businesses and Workplaces: Answers frequently asked questions and provides guidance and planning documents, fact sheets, and other resources.
- Information about people at higher risk for COVID-19: As workplaces consider a gradual scale up of activities towards pre-COVID-19 operating practices, it is important to keep in mind that some workers are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
- Assessing Risk Factors for Severe COVID-19 Illness: Explains what risk factors are, why they matter, and how the CDC is working to identify risk factors for severe COVID-19 illness.
- Evidence Used to Update the List of Underlying Medical Conditions that Increase a Person’s Risk of Severe Illness from COVID-19: A compilation of updates to the list of underlying medical conditions that put adults of any age at increased risk for severe illness from the virus that causes COVID-19, based on published reports, articles, and internal data.
- People at Increased Risk and Others Who Need to Take Extra Precautions: Information for people who are at increased risk of COVID-19 complications based on age, race and ethnicity, medical conditions, and living conditions.
- People with Disabilities and COVID-19: Discusses how some people with disabilities might be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 and steps to help prevent illness.
- People with Certain Medical Conditions & COVID-19: A non-exhaustive list of underlying medical conditions that can cause increased risk for severe illness from the virus that causes COVID-19 and steps to help prevent illness.
- CDC accessible COVID-19 resources: These resources were developed by the COVID-19 Accessible Materials and Culturally Relevant Messages for Individuals with Disabilities Project, led by Georgia Tech’s Center for Inclusive Design and Innovation. They include COVID-19 information in Braille, ASL, simplified text, and other alternative formats.
- Easy-to-Read COVID-19 Safety Resources: A series of easy-to-read materials that explain what COVID-19 is, how to prevent illness, how testing works, what to do if someone has COVID-19, and how to protect those in school settings.
- COVID-19 ASL Videos: A series of videos from the CDC discussing topics related to COVID-19 in ASL.
Executive Orders: Executive Orders related to worker health and safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Executive Order 13999 Protecting Worker Health and Safety (January 21, 2021): Directs the federal government to issue guidance, enforce health and safety requirements, and push for additional resources to reduce the risk that workers may contract COVID–19 in the workplace.
- Executive Order 13991 Protecting the Federal Workforce and Requiring Mask-wearing (January 20, 2021): Requires individuals in federal buildings and on federal lands to wear a mask, maintain physical distance, and adhere to other public health measures; encourages the use of masks across the U.S.; and other measures to protect the federal workforce.
Other Federal Government Resources
The White House
In January 2021, the White House issued a “National Strategy for the COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness, “which outlines seven goals to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, including protecting workers through stronger worker safety guidance and providing support to safely re-open businesses. In addition, the National Strategy recognizes that the COVID-19 pandemic has “exposed and exacerbated severe and pervasive health inequities among communities defined by, among other things, race, ethnicity, disability, and geography” and calls for the establishment of a COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force. To further the National Strategy, the White House issued the following Executive Orders:
- Executive Order on Economic Relief Related to the COVID-19 Pandemic (January 22, 2021): Directs agencies to prioritize actions to address the current economic crisis resulting from the pandemic that provide the greatest relief to individuals, families, and small businesses and to State, local, Tribal, and territorial governments.
- Executive Order 13995 Ensuring an Equitable Pandemic Response and Recovery (January 21, 2021): Directs the federal government to address the disproportionate and severe impact of COVID–19 on communities of color and other underserved populations.
- Executive Order 13997 Improving and Expanding Access to Care and Treatments for COVID-19 (January 21, 2021): Executive Order related to assisting the nation’s healthcare systems to address COVID-19, accelerate the development of novel therapies to treat COVID-19 and improve all Americans’ access to quality and affordable health care.
- Fact Sheet (July 26, 2021): Biden-Harris Administration Marks Anniversary of Americans with Disabilities Act and Announces Resources to Support Individuals with Long COVID: Fact sheet honoring the 31st anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) that includes resources supporting individuals impacted by “Long COVID.”
U.S. Department of Labor (DOL)
- Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) COVID-19 Information and Resources Webpage: A compilation of resources to help workers and employers prepare for COVID-19 and implement accommodations in the workplace.
- Wage and Hour Division: DOL’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) offers information about issues employers and workers face when responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. It includes the effects on wages and hours worked under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and job-protected leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
- COVID-19 and the American Workplace Webpage: Contains information on the Paid Leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, including an eligibility checker, fact sheets, questions and answers, field assistance bulletins, and more.
- COVID-19 and the FLSA: Questions and Answers: Answers common questions about the FLSA as businesses and workers are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
- COVID-19 and the FMLA: Questions and Answers: Answers common questions about the FMLA as businesses and workers are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
- COVID-19 and the Service Contract Act: Questions and Answers: Answers common questions about the Service Contract Act as businesses and workers are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
- DOL COVID-19 Workplace Safety Plan: Includes provisions specifically applicable to people with disabilities and the ADA.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
- Administration for Community Living COVID-19 Resources: Webpage is updated regularly and contains resources about a variety of topics, including equal employment and other labor-related resources, vaccinations, upcoming webinars, and other events.
- Strategies for Helping Older Adults and People with Disabilities Access COVID-19 Vaccines: This document offers examples and promising practices to ensure that older adults and people with disabilities can get vaccinated.
- Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) of COVID-19 Vaccinations: Offers questions and answers on vaccine EUAs and provides basic information on vaccines for COVID-19.
- COVID-19-Related Guidance Documents for Industry, FDA Staff and Other Stakeholders: Provides recommendations, regulatory information, guidance and technical assistance to support COVID-19 response efforts.
- EUA Fact Sheets: Series of fact sheets explaining emergency use authorization of COVID-19 vaccines.
U.S Department of Justice
- DOJ COVID-19 Workforce Safety Plan: Includes provisions specifically applicable to people with disabilities and the ADA.