As schools and businesses look toward reopening, many have considered - either through state or local requirements or organizational preference - how best to institute daily COVID-19 health screenings. Many states have issued requirements that employers - depending on sector - screen employees prior to the beginning of each shift.
For example, in Massachusetts employers in the following sectors are required to screen workers at each shift for symptoms and potential contact: office spaces, personal care services, laboratories, gyms and fitness centers, lodging establishments, manufacturing, restaurants, retail stores, and "sectors not otherwise addressed." In Connecticut, personal care service, retail, restaurant, and office-based employers must ask employees resuming on-premises work to confirm they have not experienced COVID-19 CDC-defined symptoms.
The question then becomes: how do employers manage these and other employee screening requirements in an accessible, convenient, and secure way?
At CheckWriters, employees can login to our Employee Mobile App to complete the daily "Health Declaration" - a simple electronic declaration which allows the employee to self-certify their fitness for work relative to potential COVID-19 symptoms or exposure (you can view a quick video of this feature here).
While technology offers powerful tools to manage this process and keep employee information secure, there are a number of compliance concerns that all employers should be aware of before exploring health screening options.
Yes. First, screening employees is now required in a number of states, depending on employer sector. This routinely updated list by law firm Littler Mendelson is particularly useful for employers. Further, based on guidance from the CDC regarding the severity and community spread of the disease, COVID-19 likely meets the definition of a “direct threat” as defined by the ADA, which means that screenings for possible COVID symptoms or exposure are permissible regardless of state mandates.
Generally, No. All medical information obtained incident to an employee COVID-19 health screen is entitled to the confidentiality protections of the ADA and must be protected from inadvertent disclosure.
Disclaimer: This blog post is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. It is always advisable to consult counsel relative to your specific situation and jurisdiction.
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
MA Department of Public Health
NY Department of Public Health