EEOC Allows Employers to Test Employees for COVID-19
April 24, 2020– The EEOC provided an updated guidance yesterday in which it announced that employers could test employees for the presence of the COVID-19 virus.
While the ADA requires that any mandatory medical test of employees be “job related and consistent with business necessity,” the EEOC indicated that employers may take steps to determine if employees entering the workplace have COVID-19. The reason for allowing such testing, according to the agency, is that an individual with the virus will pose a direct threat to the health of others. Therefore, pursuant to this guidance, an employer may periodically test current employees for COVID-19 before they enter a work site. Employers can also perform post-offer, pre-employment tests on job applicants.
Consistent with the ADA standard, employers should ensure that the tests are accurate and reliable. For example, employers may review guidance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration about what may or may not be considered safe and accurate testing, as well as guidance from CDC or other public health authorities, and check for updates.
The guidance does not authorize administering COVID-19 antibody tests to employees or applicants. Antibody tests indicate whether an employee previously had COVID-19, and may have some immunity to the virus going forward. Such tests do not detect the presence of COVID-19.
For more information, please contact Tony Stergio.
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