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PRESS RELEASE
10-31-01

EEOC PROVIDES TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE TO EMPLOYERS ON REQUESTING MEDICAL INFORMATION AS PART OF EMERGENCY EVACUATION PROCEDURES

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today posted on its web site questions and answers to assist employers who are developing or re- evaluating emergency evacuation procedures. The full text of the document is available at www.eeoc.gov.

"In light of recent events, many employers are particularly concerned about being able to evacuate individuals who might require assistance because of a medical condition or disability," said EEOC Chair Cari M. Dominguez. "This document is intended to provide answers to questions they may have about the implications of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act in developing a comprehensive emergency plan."

The document explains how employers may identify individuals who may require assistance and how much medical information they may obtain. It also explains with whom employers may share information about an employee's medical condition and need for assistance.

"Although employers may ask employees with known disabilities about their need for assistance in the event of an emergency," said EEOC Commissioner Paul Steven Miller, "this document cautions them that they should not assume that all individuals with obvious disabilities will require assistance. Individuals with disabilities are generally in the best position to assess their particular needs."

In addition to enforcing Title I of the ADA, which prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in the private sector and state and local governments, and the Rehabilitation Act's prohibitions against disability discrimination in the federal government, EEOC enforces Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, and national origin; the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, which prohibits discrimination against individuals 40 years of age or older; the Equal Pay Act; and sections of the Civil Rights Act of 1991.