On April 23, 2020 the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) updated its guidance to provide clarity for employers who wish to test their staff for COVID-19.
Generally, an employer must be mindful of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) before mandating any sort of medical test for employees. If a mandatory test is not “job related and consistent with business necessity,” the employer runs the risk of violating the ADA. For this reason, some employers were hesitant to require employees to get tested for COVID-19.
According to the EEOC’s most recent guidance, however, employers may requre employees get tested for COVID-19 before they enter the workplace. The test is designed to determine if they have the virus, because, for obvious reasons, an employee who tests positive for the virus poses a direct threat to the health of others.
Employers that implement testing should ensure that they use accurate and reliable testing protocols and ensure the privacy of employee health information. Employers also should be mindful that an employee who tests negative on one day might still contract the virus at a later date. As a result, some employers will need to regularly or even frequently test in order to effectively safeguard their workforce.
Even if you test your employees, you still must implement appropriate safety and social distancing practices. Strict social distancing and the use of masks (in most cases) are required of even essential workforces at this time.
If you have questions about how to navigate COVID-19 related legal requirements, contact us. The Coppola Firm is currently offering flat-fee 45-minute consultations to help businesses through this challenging time.