Employee COVID testing is a must when returning to work to keep the transmission of COVID-19 down. Employers are now faced with the task of following local authorities’ guidance and implementing protocols that will allow employees to return to work safely as states continue to phase in their re-opening of business. We have seen a surge in the number of screening and testing vendors offering solutions, from digital symptom checking apps to on-site thermal scanners to virus/antibody testing services. These FAQs are frequently asked questions by our customers.
1) What federal and state guidelines apply to employers regarding screening and testing employees returning to work?
The general guidelines were issued by the CDC. They outline what a return of office buildings should look like and include:
+ Daily health checks
+ Conducting a workplace hazard assessment
+ Encourage employees to use cloth face covers at work, if necessary
+ Social distancing policies and practices:
+ Posting CDC signage “Stop the Spread”
+ Training personnel for new protocols
+ Disinfecting the workplace
Although the CDC provides guidance on screening and testing, decisions about testing are made in accordance with state and local laws. Some states, for example, require employees to be screened daily. As the COVID-19 pandemic develops, employers should be aware that public health authorities’ guidance is likely to change. Employers should remember that the guidance provided by public health authorities is likely to change as the COVID-19 pandemic evolves.
2) Which EEOC guidelines are applicable to employee COVID testing?
Employers can take two steps to protect their workers under EEOC guidelines.
- Temperature screening
- Examining for signs and symptoms of coronavirus
Employers may also exempt workers from work if they suspect that the worker has symptoms.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the EEOC laws continue to be in force. The EEOC laws don’t prevent employers from following guidelines and suggestions by the CDC, state/local public healthcare authorities, about what steps employers should take in regard to COVID-19.
When deciding to implement employee COVID testing, the following EEOC parameters should be considered by employers:
+ As with temperature screening, COVID-19 screening/testing must be done on a nondiscriminatory foundation. This likely means that every employee entering the workplace must be tested.
+ If the testing results are kept, they must be retained as confidential medical records in accordance with the ADA and HIPAA regulations.
+ It is against the law to conduct any screening, test, or inquiry beyond what is necessary to address the direct threat.
+ It is possible for an employee to have a medical condition. The employer should determine if it can offer accommodation. For example, a nasal swab could be an alternative method.
+ Employers should consider how to deal with an employee refusing to take part in a test. An employer might refuse to allow an employee to access the workplace if they are refusing to cooperate.
Important Note: Compliance with this FAQ and the state and federal guidance it contains does not protect employers from potential liability for employees or visitors visiting their place of business. Employers who implement screening and testing procedures need to discuss them with their legal counsel.
3) What questions should employers ask vendors about their symptom-checker apps?
+ How much experience do you have in implementing digital solutions for employers at your company?
+ What assistance can you offer employers to help them develop a screening strategy for their employees?
+ How long does it take to implement?
+ What customization options are available for employers?
+ What are the screening questions? How does the checker triage the users to the appropriate level/site/provider of care?
+ What analytics and reporting options are available for employers?
+ How will data privacy be maintained?
Ask a Wellness Firm customer service team for the latest COVID-19 Screening & Test Vendor Inventory.
What Are Some Services Available With The Wellness Firm, How Can They Help?
- Onsite Covid Testing
- Event Covid Testing
- Employee Health Physical Exams
- Mobile Covid Testing
- Covid Testing For Employees
- Corporate CPR Training
- Corporate On-Site Flu Shots For Employees
- Wholesale Rapid Antigen Test
Covid will continue to rely on testing as a key part of pandemic management. If you suspect you may have been exposed or feel you are at risk, you should get Covid testing in St Pete. You can also schedule Covid testing in St Petersburg FL with a local provider by contacting us today.