The EEOC updated its guidance on April 23 on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and coronavirus, explaining that employers may screen employees for COVID-19. Any mandatory medical test must be job-related and consistent with business necessity, the EEOC explained.
“Applying this standard to the current circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, employers may take steps to determine if employees entering the workplace have COVID-19 because an individual with the virus will pose a direct threat to the health of others,” the agency stated. Consequently, an employer may administer COVID-19 testing to employees before they enter the workplace.
Workers who contract the coronavirus on the job will face an uphill battle in proving their employers created unsafe work conditions, as an anticipated spike in lawsuits related to the pandemic would enter uncharted territory and raise novel legal questions.
Business groups have begun raising the alarm against a potential wave of personal-injury and wrongful death lawsuits filed by employees or their families and are lobbying the government to shield them from those claims, as the nation gears up for returning to work.
“Sneeze guard” partitions. “Safe zones” demarcating spots to stand in elevators. Contact tracing apps to detect interactions between co-workers and infrared temperature readings.
As Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and other states took steps to reopen their economies this week, and Boeing workers came back to their jobs after a three-week furlough, businesses, design firms, real estate developers, and corporate advisers are starting to envision how a return to the office will work.
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