EEOC Updates Guidance on COVID-19 Testing

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released updated guidance clarifying how/when employers can screen workers for COVID-19 without violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) if they follow guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other authorities.

‘Business Necessity’ Standard
The ADA prohibits medical examinations unless they are job-related and consistent with business necessity. The EEOC clarified that employers that follow CDC guidelines while administering COVID-19 tests will not run afoul of the ADA’s standard.
Periodic Testing
Employers should note that certain COVID-19-related inquiries are allowed based on the potential existence of a “direct threat” to the workforce. The EEOC previously confirmed that employers may choose to administer COVID-19 testing to employees before initially allowing them to enter the workplace. Employers should not ask whether employees’ family members have COVID-19 or related symptoms.
Reasonable Accommodation Requests
The EEOC also updated its guidance explaining when employers may invite employees, in advance of their expected return-to-work date, to disclose whether they need a reasonable accommodation.
A Guide to Employee Temperature Checks
The EEOC has given employers the authorization to take employees’ temperatures to try and ward off the spread of the coronavirus.
Steps to Take When an Employee Gets COVID-19
As the spread of COVID-19 continues to evolve, so does employer liability. Employers should be aware and up to date on all governmental guidance as to employees and COVID-19.