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What You Should Know about the EEOC and Ensuring Clear and Accurate Guidance

Outreach and education are critical tools to prevent discrimination, and the EEOC works with hundreds of thousands of employees and employers every year to educate them on their legal rights and responsibilities.  As part of this effort, the EEOC is committed to providing guidance and information to our stakeholders that is current, accurate, and clear. 

Since the EEOC began issuing guidance documents in the 1980s, there have been many changes in the laws we enforce.  Some of EEOC's guidance and technical assistance documents have been superseded by legislation, court decisions, or newer and more complete guidance.  Other guidance documents have become outdated because they were limited to narrow fact patterns that now rarely, if ever, arise.        

An internal work group has been reviewing EEOC's guidance and technical assistance documents with these criteria in mind and has identified some that are candidates for updating or rescission.  Guidance that needs to be updated will go through an appropriate Commission process for drafting and approval, including public input and Commission votes.  

All documents being considered for rescission will be circulated to EEOC staff, as well as to Commissioners and the General Counsel, for comment regarding whether rescission is appropriate.  Additionally, guidance documents, which were originally adopted by Commission vote, can be rescinded only by Commission vote.  Technical assistance documents, which were not approved by Commission vote, will be withdrawn at the EEOC Chair's discretion after notice to the Commission.  

The documents approved for rescission, by Commission vote when required, are listed below.  This is an ongoing process and this list will be updated as additional rescissions are approved.

Technical Assistance Documents

  • How to Comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act: A Guide for Restaurants and Other Food Service Employers. This document was published several years before enactment of the ADA Amendments Act. Consequently, its detailed discussion of "disability," both in the first part of the document and in connection with the document's discussion of the relationship of the ADA and the FDA Food Code, reflects a much more stringent standard than the current standard for establishing that a condition is a disability. The document also refers to an outdated version of the food code. Moreover, the document addresses several issues - such as the rules concerning the kinds of health-related questions that employers may and may not ask of applicants and employees, and the obligation to make reasonable accommodations - that are discussed more fully in other publications.