Written By Digital Content Editor Thomas Ahearn
On July 12, 2022, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) updated its Guidance about “What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws” by updating several Questions and Answers (Q&As) including a question about administering COVID-19 viral tests in the workplace.
The EEOC’s assessment at the outset of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in March 2020 was that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standard for conducting medical examinations was, at that time, always met for employers to conduct worksite COVID-19 viral screening testing.
In the EEOC Guidance, Question A.6. under “A. Disability-Related Inquiries and Medical Exams” asks: “Under the ADA, may an employer, as a mandatory screening measure, administer a COVID-19 viral test (a test to detect the presence of the COVID-19 virus) when evaluating an employee’s initial or continued presence in the workplace?”
With the revision of Question A.6. in the Guidance, the EEOC makes clear that going forward employers will need to assess whether current pandemic circumstances and individual workplace circumstances justify viral screening testing of employees to prevent workplace transmission of COVID-19.
In addition, Question A.6. offers employers possible factors to consider in making this assessment, including the level of community transmission, the vaccination status of employees, the accuracy and speed of processing for different types of COVID-19 viral tests, and the degree to which breakthrough infections are possible.
The EEOC stresses that this change is not meant to suggest that such testing is or is not warranted. However, the revised Q&A acknowledges that evolving pandemic circumstances will require an individualized assessment by employers to determine whether such testing is warranted consistent with the requirements of the ADA.
COVID-19 is a potentially deadly respiratory illness that spreads from person to person. As of July 2022, there are approximately 557 million global cases and 6.3 million global deaths, while the United States leads the world with approximately 88 million cases and 1 million deaths, according to research by Johns Hopkins University.
Employment Screening Resources (ESR) – a service offering of ClearStar, a leading Human Resources technology company specializing in background checks, drug tests, and occupational health screening – posts blogs about how COVID-19 has impacted background screening by employers. To learn more about ESR, contact us.
NOTE: Employment Screening Resources (ESR) – a service offering of ClearStar – does not provide or offer legal services or legal advice of any kind or nature. Any information on this website is for educational purposes only.
© 2022 Employment Screening Resources (ESR) – A Service Offering of ClearStar – Making copies of or using any part of the ESR News Blog or ESR website for any purpose other than your own personal use is prohibited unless written authorization is first obtained from ESR.
Share on Social Media