EEOC and FDA Release ADA Guidelines for Restaurants

November 10, 2004 ( - The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have released a document at the request of the National Restaurant Association (NRA) regarding how to prevent the spread of foodborne illness while at the same time not discriminating against employees with disabilities.

>The FDA and EEOC effort, entitled “How to Comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act: A Guide for Restaurants and Other Food Service Employers” and release on October 28, is available at

>The release by the two groups also gives restaurant-specific examples to help employers understand how to not violate the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and to understand the ADA requirements.

>The NRA  applauded the release of the government document , saying that it covered:

  • whether and when an employer can ask a job applicant or employee medical questions; how far companies need to go in making “reasonable accommodations” to help employees perform their jobs; and protections for employees addicted to drugs or alcohol.
  • 25 restaurant-specific examples to help employers understand the ADA’s requirements. Examples include a manager diagnosed with depression who asks not to be scheduled for early-morning shifts; a food-prep employee who returns to work after a back injury and whose mother requests that her daughter be allowed to sit for 10 minutes of every hour and a bartender who suffers from alcoholism who says his disability protects him from being fired after he’s observed siphoning liquor from the restaurant’s stock.
  • details on where to recruit employees with disabilities, referrals to organizations that can help employers come up with low-cost “reasonable accommodations” to enable employees to perform their jobs, and a list of tax incentives to offset the costs of workplace changes to accommodate employees with disabilities.

Additional details about the ADA are at .