Q: Can an employer take employee temperatures before entering the workplace?

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A: The EEOC and ADA have stated that an employer may take an employee’s temperature. Since this is considered a medical exam, employers must keep the information confidential and separate from the employee personnel file. The results may be kept with an existing medical file for an employee.

Q: When are employers required to take an employee’s temperature?A: Each state has different guidelines on the requirement of taking temperatures. For example, Pennsylvania’s order states that in the event of a positive test, the employer must have temperature checks for at least 14 days at the location of a positive test.

Q: Who must take the employees temperatures?

A: An employer may take the employees temperatures or may contract with a third party. Pennsylvania does not mandate who must administer the screening. Employers should keep in mind that each State may have their own regulations regarding who can provide the temperature screening and associated procedures.

The individual taking the temperatures should be trained on how to administer the temperature screenings, recordkeeping and confidentiality. 

Employers may want to contact their employment law attorney for advice on who they should have taking temperatures of employees. Some law firms are recommending that screenings be administered by someone other than an employee. Others are indicating it is not practical to outsource this function and advise a member of the workforce who is trained and understands the confidentiality associated with the screenings is sufficient.   

Q: What type of thermometer is recommended for temperatures?

A: The best practice is to use thermometers that require no direct contact between the employee and the individual taking the temperature.

Q: May employees self-monitor and report their temperature?

A: Each employer should refer to their State Department of Health. Pennsylvania’s FAQ indicates that employees may take their temperature at home with business-provided thermometers if they are able to be procured.

Q: What other items should I consider?

A: In addition to considering who will take the temperatures and adhering to confidentiality and EEOC/ADA laws, employers should consider the following:

  • Social distancing during temperature screening
  • Personal Protective Equipment for employee administering the screening
  • Location of temperature screening station
  • Consequences if an employee refuses to allow a temperature check
  • Payment practices for employees sent home as a result of the temperature check

Employer Resources

CDC General Business Frequently Asked Questions

EEOC Pandemic Preparedness and the Americans with Disabilities Act

FAQ Order of the Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Health Directing Public Health Safety Measures for Businesses Permitted to Maintain In-Person Operation

If you have any questions or would like additional information, please contact your Liberty Advisor.

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