On November 17, 2021, the EEOC, as it has done throughout the pandemic, updated its COVID-19 Technical Assistance manual. The additional questions and answers clarify that applicants and current and former employees are protected from relation for exercising EEO rights in connection with COVID-19. The guidance identifies particular examples of protected activity, which employees may engage in without fear of retaliation, including:
The guidance also explains that interference with an individual’s exercise of their rights under the ADA is prohibited, and provides examples of prohibited interference, including the use of threats to discourage someone from seeking a reasonable accommodation or exerting pressure on an employee not to file a discrimination complaint.
This updated guidance from the EEOC comes on the heels of announcements from the EEOC, DOL and NLRB last week that they are partnering to protect workers from retaliation and interference with their rights. This renewed focus on retaliation suggests that employers should be reviewing and updating their non-retaliation policies.