July 26, 2023
EEOC Issues Guidance on “Visual Disabilities in the Workplace and the Americans with Disabilities Act”
On July 26th the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) published a document, explaining how the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to job applicants and employees with visual disabilities. This is one in a series of Q & A documents and follows a related publication on hearing disabilities published January 24, 2023.
Why now? This document updates a previous edition published in 2014. In 2022, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Health Interview Survey, found that approximately 18.4% of all U.S. adults are blind or have “some” or “a lot” of difficulty seeing, even when wearing corrective lenses.
The latest document includes sections addressing:
- Obtaining, Using and Disclosing Medical Information (for applicants v. employees)
- Keeping Medical Information Confidential
- Accommodating Applicants and Employees
- Concerns About Safety
- Retaliation and Interference
- …and more (including telling individuals how they can file a charge against private and public employers).
A few reminders include:
- The ADA does not require an applicant to disclose that they have or had any type of vision impairment or disability.
- An employer may not ask an applicant ask visual acuity or require a medical exam prior to extended a bona fide offer of employment.
- Once an employee is on the job, actual performance is the best measure of ability to do the job.
- an employer should be careful not to act on the basis of myths, fears, or stereotypes about vision impairments. Instead, the employer should evaluate an individual on their skills, knowledge, and experience, and, if any, their disability-related limitations.
Employers, HR Professionals and small business owners. Use the link above or click here to review this Guidance. It includes 21 Q & A’s, mini-case studies, and likely anticipates and answers many questions you may have.