Can we screen employees returning to work for COVID-19?

COVID-19 and Employee Benefits Plans
April 24, 2020
We are reopening after business closure due to COVID-19. Can we bring some employees back, but not others?
April 28, 2020

Yes. Generally, inquiries about an employee’s health or a medical exam (like a temperature check) would not be allowed, but the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has stated that screening employees for symptoms of COVID-19 is allowed since it is a direct threat to others in the workplace. Because of that, you may inquire about symptoms related to the virus, require self-reporting by employees, and take employees’ temperatures.

Known symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, chills, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, and sudden loss of taste or smell. As the medical community learns more about COVID-19, additional symptoms could be added to this list. Employers can check this page for currently recognized symptoms.

If you decide to do screenings, make sure you screen all employees; otherwise you may find yourself in the middle of a discrimination claim. And remember that all information about employees’ health—including a lack of symptoms or temperature—must be kept confidential.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: