Since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) has issued multiple technical assistance and guidance documents on employment issues. The EEOC enforces federal workplace anti-discrimination laws including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
On June 17, 2020, the EEOC issued an updated Guidance on disability-related inquiries and medical exams. The EEOC reiterated that employers may take the body temperature of returning employees. Employers also may administer COVID-19 testing to employees before they enter the workplace to determine if they have the virus. Such tests allow employers to determine if returning employees will pose a direct threat to the health of others. The EEOC has drawn the line at antibody testing which employers may not require of returning employees. Like COVID-19 testing, this is a medical exam; however, antibody testing does not meet the ADA’s “job related and consistent with business necessity” standard for medical exams.
A comprehensive listing of EEOC materials related to COVID-19, including the updated Guidance, are available here.