On Thursday, April 23, the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) updated its COVID-19 guidance for employers to include a provision allowing employers to test employees for the COVID-19 virus without running afoul of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”).
The ADA requires that any mandatory medical testing of employees be job related. The updated EEOC Guidance states:
Applying this standard to the current circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, employers may take steps to determine if employees entering the workplace have COVID-19 because an individual with the virus will pose a direct threat to the health of others.
Thus, employers are now permitted to test employees for COVID-19 before they enter the employer’s premises. Previously, employers were allowed only to take the temperature of employees before they came on site.
The EEOC recommends that employers review FDA guidelines concerning what may constitute safe and accurate testing.
Moreover, the EEOC notes that employers still need to require observance of proper and effective infectious disease control practices to prevent COVID-19 transmission.