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EEOC Permits Employers to Test for COVID-19

April 27, 2020

On April 23, 2020, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced that employers will be allowed to test employees for COVID-19 before they enter a work site without violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

While the ADA requires that any mandatory medical test of employees be “job related and consistent with business necessity,” 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. Accordingly, the EEOC will allow an employer to administer COVID-19 testing to employees before they enter the workplace to determine if they have the virus.

The EEOC advises that, consistent with the ADA standard, employers should ensure that the tests are accurate and reliable. Employers can review guidance on testing from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Center for Disease Control, or other public health authorities, and should regularly check for updates. The EEOC further recommends that employers still require, to the greatest extent possible, that employees observe infection control practices (such as social distancing, regular handwashing, and other measures) in the workplace to prevent transmission of COVID-19.

A link to the EEOC’s technical assistance guidance for employers dealing with the novel coronavirus pandemic can be found here.

If you have any questions, please contact a Richards Layton Labor and Employment attorney.

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