As your source for thermal cameras and temperature scanners, we are unabashedly pro-temperature checks. However, there are some easy rules you can follow to keep your workplace safer from disease, while still respecting your employees’ rights. To help you navigate those rules, we put together this guide to employee temperature checks.
Temperature Checks Do Not Violate the ADA
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits employee medical examinations unless they are job-related and a business necessity. In March of 2020, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) clarified that employee temperature monitoring in response to the COVID-19 pandemic was permissible and did not violate the ADA. However, knowing that it is a health screening, you want to be sure to respect employee rights.
The Less Invasive, the Better
There are a number of different ways to measure body temperature. Oral thermometers may be the gold standard in healthcare, but they create a risk of contamination that is unacceptable in the workplace. They are also more invasive. Choosing a non-invasive method, such as a temperature scanner, reduces risk and shows greater respect to employee autonomy.
Appoint a Scanner
If your workplace has a nurse, that is who should be handling temperature scans. Otherwise, select an individual, perhaps a member of the safety team, to handle temperature scans for each shift. You want your scanning procedures to be as consistent as possible, and appointing a single person to handle the process helps improve consistency.
Temperature is confidential health information. While an employer may not have to adhere to all of the requirements of HIPAA, you do not want to broadcast confidential information. Record and store temperature information in secure files, kept separate from an employee’s personnel file.
Temperature Is Only One Measure of Illness
Remember that temperature is only one indicator of health. Employees can still have COVID-19, even if they do not have a fever. Likewise, people can run a fever without having COVID-19 and even without having an underlying illness. If an employee has a fever or is showing other symptoms of COVID-19, you should encourage them to self-quarantine until they can be tested.
Protect Employee Pay
Employees should be paid for the time they spend in temperature scans. Employees should also receive paid time off to quarantine, as long as they are otherwise complying with your company’s COVID-19 policies. However, if an employee refuses to submit to testing, including temperature scans, you may consider sending them home without pay.