Recently, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) sponsored a webinar which analyzed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on employee’s civil rights within the workplace. In the session, the EEOC presented several experts who focused on women and individuals with disabilities (IWDs) in the workplace which uncovered the following impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic:
Impacts on women:
- The pandemic has led to a sharp decline in women’s participation in the workforce, erasing decades of progress in the labor force participation rate
- Job losses disproportionately impacted women in front-line retail and service jobs
- The changes threaten to exacerbate the wage gap between women and men.
Impacts on Individuals with a Disability:
- Increased health risks for IWDs who work in essential workplaces, particularly those with disabilities who may be at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19
- Employees with disabilities were often among the first to be impacted by layoffs during the economic downturn
- Recently, the unemployment rate for those with disabilities has doubled compared to their non-disabled peers.
There is no question that the pandemic has brought on some of the most intensive, demanding, and serious workplace issues human resource professionals have ever experienced. In response, EEOC advises human resource professionals to play a critical role in interacting with leadership in order to decrease the disparities for women and individuals with disabilities brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. To find resources for ways to address potential disparities caused by the pandemic, more information is available at www.eeoc.gov.