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Thousands of workers across the country have filed discrimination claims with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) since the inception of the Covid-19 pandemic.  In an exclusive report, Bloomberg revealed that “[s]ince April 2020, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has received roughly 6,225 Covid-related charges of discrimination under federal civil rights laws” and “more than 2,700 vaccine-related charges, most of which were in 2021 when vaccine requirements were introduced.”  The majority of the EEOC charges citing Covid-19 allege violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”).  These  numbers are expected to continue increasing in light of the EEOC’s December 2021 guidance announcing situations in which Covid can be a “disability” for purposes of the ADA.

The rise in Covid-related charges of discrimination signals an impending surge in Covid-related litigation under federal civil rights laws.  This is particularly true in the areas of Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the ADA.  Denials of religious exemption requests in connection with employer vaccine policies and denials of requests to work remotely, as well as terminations, will likely be at the heart of these lawsuits.

Contact our employment law team for help assessing religious or medical exemptions and other requests for accommodations, as well as responding to EEOC charges of discrimination.

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