During Coronavirus Outbreak, Should Employers Check Workers’ Temperatures?

Infrared forehead thermometers—so-called thermometer guns—are “notoriously unreliable,” according to medical experts quoted in an article in The New York Times, but that hasn’t kept the devices from flying off store shelves as coronavirus cases pop up around the world. Some employers are using them to take workers’ temperatures, then sending the workers home if they have a fever.

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Is it legal for employers to take workers’ temperatures? If the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or a state or local health authority proclaims a pandemic has spread in an area, then yes, it is; otherwise, it is not, according to Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) guidance.

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“Employers are doing the right thing by considering all options potentially available to them in the event of a pandemic, including temperature testing,” said Jonathan Segal, an attorney with Duane Morris in Philadelphia and New York City.

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To read the full article, visit the SHRM website.