Q: If an employee has a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19, do I need to shut down my workplace?


A: An employer should follow the CDC interim guidance and your company’s COVID-19 procedures. The interim guidance states that in most cases you do not need to shut down your facility. If it has been less than 7 days since the sick employee has been in the facility, close off any areas used for prolonged periods of time by the sick person, and wait 24 hours before cleaning and disinfecting to minimize potential for other employees being exposed to respiratory droplets. If waiting 24 hours is not feasible, wait as long as possible. In addition, during the waiting period, open outside doors and windows to increase air circulation in these areas.
If it has been 7 days or more since the sick employee used the facility, additional cleaning and disinfection is not necessary. Continue routine cleaning and disinfecting of all high-touch surfaces in the facility.
Q: Am I permitted to disclose to the workforce the name of the employee with COVID-19? 
A: No. An employer may tell the workforce that a confirmed case exists but cannot disclose the name of the employee. The ADA does not permit such a broad disclosure of the medical condition of a specific employee. More importantly, this broad disclosure is not recommended by the CDC. The CDC specifically advises employers to maintain the confidentiality of people with confirmed COVID-19. This is addressed in the Transcript of EEOC Webinar on COVID-19 question 8. 
Q: Is there anyone in my workplace who should be provided with the individual’s name if there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 in our workforce?
 A: Disclosing the identity to anyone will depend on your workplace and reason why a specific official may need this information. Employers should make every effort to limit the number of people to whom the name of the employee is disclosed. This is addressed in the Transcript of EEOC Webinar on COVID-19 question 5.
Q: When employees return to work, does the ADA allow employers to require a doctor’s note certifying fitness for duty? 
 A: Yes. Such inquiries are permitted under the ADA either because they would not be disability-related or, if the pandemic were truly severe, they would be justified under the ADA standards for disability-related inquiries of employees. As a practical matter, however, doctors and other health care professionals may be too busy during and immediately after a pandemic outbreak to provide fitness-for-duty documentation. Therefore, new approaches may be necessary, such as reliance on local clinics to provide a form, a stamp, or an e-mail to certify that an individual does not have the pandemic virus. This may also include a negative COVID-19 test. This is addresses on the EEOC page What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act and Other EEO Laws.


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