EEOC Releases New Guidance on Impact of COVID-19 Vaccinations

Mara B. Levin, Anthony A. Mingione, and Jacob W.E. Kearney






The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) released updated guidance on December 16, 2020, to address the impact of COVID-19 vaccinations in the workplace. The guidance indicates that employers may require COVID-19 vaccinations for workers to be able to return to the workplace as long as employers comply with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (“Title VII”), the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), and Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (“GINA”).

Here are a few highlights:

      • Administration of the vaccine by the employer (or a contractor on the employer’s behalf) is not a medical examination and does not implicate the ADA, GINA, or Title VII. Employers must ensure, however, that all vaccine pre-screening questions are “job-related and consistent with business necessity” and do not request genetic information.
      • Asking or requiring employees to show proof of receipt of a COVID-19 vaccination is not a disability-related inquiry under the ADA because it is not likely to reveal information about any disability, nor does it impact GINA. Subsequent questions, such as “why did an employee not receive the vaccine,” would implicate concerns under the ADA and GINA, however. Employers must therefore also ensure that follow-up questions are “job-related and consistent with business necessity” and avoid asking questions about genetic information or family medical history.
      • Employers must provide reasonable accommodations, subject to “undue hardship” analysis, to workers who are unable to get the vaccine because of a disability (under the ADA) or sincerely held religious beliefs (under Title VII).
      • An employer may physically preclude an employee who cannot be vaccinated from entering the workplace when that employee poses a “direct threat to the health or safety of individuals in the workplace,” which threat cannot be eliminated by a reasonable accommodation. However, an employer may not automatically terminate the employment of that worker. Employers must consider what protections the employee may have under relevant EEO laws or other federal, state, and local authorities.

We encourage employers working on their return-to-work strategies to review the EEOC guidance as they consider how and whether to implement COVID-19 vaccination requirements. If you have any questions or need guidance specific to your workplace, please do not hesitate to contact Blank Rome for more information.

Time to Start Collecting Pay Data—Judge Sets September 30 as Date for Filing of EEO-1s

Mark Blondman and Emery Gullickson Richards

As we reported last month Judge Tanya Chutkan of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia ruled on March 4 that the Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) was to reinstate the EEOC’s 2016 pay reporting Rule, the enforcement of which had been blocked by the Trump administration. Under that Rule, which was to have been effective with the filing of EEO-1 forms in March 2018, employers with more than 100 employees would be required to collect and report aggregated W-2 data and hours worked, based on gender, race, and ethnicity, in 10 job categories, across 12 pay ranges, for each of a company’s physical locations.

The one issue left unanswered by Judge Chutkan’s March 4 Order was when the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) was required to collect the employee pay data. This morning, Judge Chutkan, held that the Commission had to collect the data by September 30, 2019. The EEOC has indicated it will make the collection portal available by July 15 and provide information and training to employees prior to that date.

The clock is ticking and, absent a successful appeal of Judge Chutkan’s March 4 decision, employers should now be collecting the data required to be included in the EEO-1 form and be prepared to file those reports on or before September 30. Members of our Firm’s Labor & Employment Practice Group are available to assist in navigating the EEO-1 Form.

The Uncertain Future of Gender Pay Reporting

Mark Blondman and Emery Gullickson Richards

As you may recall, in 2016, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) issued a Rule requiring private employers with more than 100 workers to include certain pay data, based on gender, race, and ethnicity, on their Form EEO-1s. The Rule, which purportedly was aimed at encouraging employers to ensure that compensation was directly related to jobs being performed and as a means of combating pay disparities, was slated to go into effect with the filing of EEO-1 forms in March 2018.

Under President Trump, the Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) blocked enforcement of the Rule and announced that decision in August 2017.

On March 4, 2019, Judge Tanya Chutkan of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, in response to a 2017 lawsuit filed by advocacy groups including the National Women’s Law Center, issued an Opinion and Order directing that the OMB reinstate the EEOC’s 2016 pay reporting Rule. Continue reading “The Uncertain Future of Gender Pay Reporting”

All (Employers) Hail the OMB as It Stays Implementation of New EEO-1 Wage Reporting

Jason E. Reisman

Last week, the Office of Management and Budget in the White House informed the EEOC that it was delaying implementation of a rule the EEOC finalized last year, which would require significant additional information be included in annual EEO-1 reports. The EEOC’s new rule required employers to provide information on W-2 wage data and hours worked for employees within 12 specified pay bands. The first EEO-1 reports with such data were set to be due March 31, 2018. Continue reading “All (Employers) Hail the OMB as It Stays Implementation of New EEO-1 Wage Reporting”