If you're revamping your workplace evacuation plans in the wake of Sept. 11, check out new guidance from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
The problem: In determining who will need extra assistance, some companies probe too deeply into a worker's disability, which can cause them to run afoul of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
According to the EEOC guide, it is legal to ask employees, individually or as a group, whether they'd need assistance in an evacuation. Plus you can ask what kind of assistance they'd need.
The ADA requires you to safeguard employees' medical information, but you can share such info with paramedics or safety personnel if necessary.
For a copy of the EEOC fact sheet, visit www.eeoc.gov/facts/evacuation.html or call the EEOC at (202) 663-4900. Another good resource is the Web site for Disaster Preparedness for People with Disabilities at www.jik.com/disaster.html.
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