Press Release


The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission


EEOC and FDA Team Up to Address Health, Safety, and Discrimination Concerns

WASHINGTON - Under the umbrella of President Bush's New Freedom Initiative for people with disabilities, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today announces the availability of "How to Comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act: A Guide for Restaurants and Other Food Service Employers." The guide is designed to assist restaurants and other food service employers in complying with the employment provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The EEOC worked extensively with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in developing this new publication. Leslie E. Silverman, Commissioner, EEOC, and Janice F. Oliver, Deputy Director, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, FDA, will discuss the significance of, and address questions about, the guide during a press teleconference to be held from 2:00 to 2:30 p.m. EDT today. Media still have time to pre-register by contacting either Jennifer Kaplan or Michael Herndon (please see contact information above).

Available online at both and, the guide covers such topics as how the FDA Food Code provisions about restricting and excluding sick employees interact with the ADA's requirements; types of reasonable accommodations, including the use of service animals; and what an employer should do if a charge of discrimination is filed against his or her business.

"Both food service employers and industry workers frequently contact EEOC with questions about how the Americans with Disabilities Act interacts with the Food and Drug Administration's safety and health provisions for employees who work around food," said Commissioner Silverman. "We believe that EEOC's new guide will be a valuable tool for addressing many typical situations."

"FDA is pleased to support the EEOC in the development of its guide," said Deputy Director Oliver. "Upholding the ADA while protecting the public from diseases transmissible through food is a benefit for everyone."

Congress has designated October as National Disability Employment Awareness Month.

The FDA is responsible for protecting the public health by assuring the safety, efficacy, and security of human and veterinary drugs, biological products, medical devices, our nation's food supply, cosmetics, and products that emit radiation. The FDA is also responsible for advancing the public health by helping to speed innovations that make medicines and foods more effective, safer, and more affordable; and helping the public get the accurate, science-based information they need to use medicines and foods to improve their health.

In addition to enforcing Title I of the ADA, which prohibits employment 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, the 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.

This page was last modified on October 28, 2004.