What Employers Can Ask of Their Employees When Returning to Work

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Published on May 15th, 2020

*Please note that the below is for informational purposes only and is by no means a final authority on the matter. Please verify with local regulations for applicable policies.

Q: What health related information can employers ask employees to provide?

A: Employers can ask employees to provide the following information:

  • A COVID-19 positive result, or other diagnosis
  • Symptoms of infection with Covid-19
  • If they have had “close contact” with any person who tested positive for Covid-19 within the last 14 days
  • Whether the employee has been asked to self-quarantine by a health official within the last 14 days
  • If an employee has traveled to a country that the CDC identified as a Level 3 health notice

Q: Can employers require employees to be tested for COVID-19?

A: Yes. According to the EEOC guidelines published on April 23, 2020, employers CAN require employees to participate in COVID-19 testing before they are allowed to enter the workplace, even if they do not exhibit any symptoms. 

Q: Can employers mandate temperature checks before permitting employees to enter the workplace?

A: Yes. Employers may measure employees’ body temperature but since it’s considered medical information, this information along with other symptoms shall follow the American with Disability Act (ADA) confidentiality requirements.

Q: Can an employer disclose the identity of an employee who has tested positive for COVID-19 to co-workers who were in close contact with the infected employee?

A: No. The identity of an employee who tested positive needs to remain confidential. However, the employers should practice best practices for contact tracing. They can ask the infected employee to list all the coworkers they have been in “close contact” with within the previous 14 days. To protect against the spread of infection, the employer should tell everyone who was possibly exposed at work but without revealing that employee’s identity.

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