Can we screen employees returning to work for COVID-19?
Yes, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has stated that screening employees for symptoms of COVID-19 is allowed under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) because it is a direct threat to others in the workplace. Therefore, during the COVID-19 pandemic, 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 or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
As the medical community continues to learn 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.