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June 23rd, 2020
Reopening: Can an Employer Require Antibody Testing For Returning Employees?
Last week, the EEOC updated its COVID-19-related guidance for employers, titled What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws. In general, this EEOC resource contains important guidance to help employers implement strategies to navigate the impact of COVID-19 in the workplace. In the most recent update, the EEOC answered the question: Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), may an employer require antibody testing before permitting employers to re-enter the workplace?
The EEOC’s answer is “no.” Pointing to recent guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that antibody test results “should not be used to make decisions about returning persons to the workplace,” the EEOC has determined that antibody tests do not meet the ADA’s standard for medical examinations or inquiries of current employees, which is that the test be “job related and consistent with business necessity.” “Therefore,” says the EEOC, “requiring antibody testing before allowing employees to re-enter the workplace is not allowed under the ADA.”
The guidance is unsurprising given the limited value of COVID-19 antibody tests for employers. Antibody tests indicate that an individual has battled the virus at some undetermined point; however, the tests do not allow employers to conclusively determine whether a returning employee is actively infected with the virus. The EEOC’s clarification that such testing does not satisfy ADA requirements, therefore, is an important reminder to employers to base their determinations of who returns to work on information pertinent to an employee’s current COVID-19 status.
If you have questions about the new EEOC guidance on antibody testing, or about other employment law matters, contact Wendy Stryker at (212) 705 4838 or firstname.lastname@example.org, Tricia Legittino at (310) 579-9632 or email@example.com, or any other member of the Frankfurt Kurnit Employment Compliance, Training & Litigation Group.
Other Employment Law Alerts
Employers Must Implement NY HERO Act Safety Plans Now
On September 6, 2021, Governor Kathy Hochul designated COVID-19 as an airborne infectious disease under the HERO Act. This designation requires all employers to implement workplace safety plans that are in compliance with HERO Act standards. Read more.
September 8 2021
The Fast and the Furious: Four Major Developments in COVID-19 and Return-to-Work Protocols
In case you blinked, we covered four major developments that came out in the past week that every employer needs to know as they reopen their offices. Read more.
June 16 2021
Vac to Work: EEOC Provides New Guidance on Vaccine Requirements, Incentives, and Documentation Requests
On May 28, 2021, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission updated its ongoing guidance on COVID-related labor and employment rules, “What You Should Know about COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws.” The updates provide crucial information for employers working through their return-to-work plans. Read more.
June 4 2021