May I take my employees’ temperatures to determine whether they have a fever?

We are sharing this answer directly from the Foley & Lardner LLP website located at:

https://www.foley.com/en/insights/publications/2020/03/coronavirus-faqs-for-employers-no-3

“Under normal circumstances, no. However, now that COVID-19 has been declared to be a pandemic by the World Health Organization, the EEOC’s pandemic flu guidance may be used as a reference. The EEOC states that while measuring an employee’s body temperature is a “medical examination,” an employer may do so if the pandemic becomes widespread in the community according to state or local health authorities or the CDC. EEOC cautions employers to keep in mind, however, that not all infected employees will have a fever (in the flu context, at least, and is the current thinking about COVID-19 as well). Moreover, employers that decide to take employees’ temperatures should be sure they are not doing so in a discriminatory manner.  Develop – and stick to – an objective procedure and/or protocol for taking temperatures. When we provided our Answer to FAQ No. 4, COVID-19 had not yet been declared a pandemic. So this Answer represents an updated response in light of more recent events.”

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