Who’s at risk and protected by EEOC guidelines?
The safety of your dental team is an obvious top priority. A safe work environment is not only expected but
Those risks could include:also provides contingencies for any underlying risks.
- An employee’s preexisting health conditions
- Any underlying or disclosed condition that places an employee in an at-risk category (under law).
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) specify the increased risk for severe illness due to COVID-19. For example, this applies to those who are immunocompromised or who have other high risk health conditions such as:
- Chronic kidney disease with dialysis treatment in process
- Chronic lung disease
- Liver disease
- Asthma – moderate to severe
- Severe obesity (a 40 or higher body mass index)
Keep in mind that the Americans with Disabilities Act can prohibit you, as an employer, from inquiring about a disability related injury or requiring current employees to have a medical examination. The exception would be under limited circumstances such as a severe pandemic as alerted by local, state, or federal health officials.
The direct threat to public health as defined by the CDC and public health officials does allow you as an employer to ask your employees to disclose a medical condition. That condition identified by the CDC would place them at a higher risk for complications from COVID-19 illness.
It’s important to document any related information. And keep that information in your employee’s confidential personal data.
What reasonable expectations should your dental employees have based on EEOC guidelines?
Your dental staff should expect you to accommodate their requests or concerns – as long as they are reasonable and timely. An initial conversation can help clarify any concerns you have as an employer or that your employee has.
A discussion can involve the disability in question and/or any restrictions that might result from it. The goal is to find a way to accommodate (if possible) their ability to perform their essential role/function(s).
Talking-points could include:
- Any perceived or actual limitations associated with the disability
- How the accommodation request can effectively assist with the limitation
- Any additional accommodation that can be applied
- What the accommodation can do to help them perform their role/job function(s)
On occasion, an employee could request an accommodation for a disability that’s not observable. In this case, you (as the employer) can request medical data (including health records or prescriptions) if reaching a related physician is difficult.
The pandemic period could create a challenge for obtaining medical data especially if it’s a COVID-19 related disability. If so, as an…