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.

The Impact of Coronavirus on Travel and Entry to the United States

The ongoing worldwide outbreak of the Coronavirus has led to serious public safety concerns, restrictions, and even bans on international travel.  The Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is caused by a virus (more specifically, a coronavirus) identified as the source of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China.  The disease outbreak has also led to several measures by the U.S. Government to control the entry to the United States of individuals potentially exposed to the virus.

On January 31, 2020, President Trump issued a proclamation suspending and limiting entry into the U.S. as immigrants or nonimmigrants of all individuals who were physically present within the People’s Republic of China, excluding Hong Kong and Macau, during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry. The proclamation became effective at 5:00 pm (ET) on February 2, 2020.

View the full post by Duane Morris attorney Teodora Purcell on the Duane Morris Immigration Law Blog.

My Boss Wants Me to Travel During the Coronavirus. Do I Have to Go?

As the deadly coronavirus becomes a global pandemic, companies like Apple and Starbucks have stopped operating in China, and others, like Sony and Amazon, have pulled out of global trade shows like this month’s World Mobile Congress in Barcelona.

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The only opportunity for an employee who contracts coronavirus to seek damages outside of workers’ compensation is if their company has behaved recklessly—such as by ordering them to Wuhan, the epi-center of the virus. According to Jonathan Segal, a partner at the law firm Duane Morris, the fact the U.S. State Department has issued a Level 4 advisory for China—a flat-out “do not travel” warning—means firms could face special liability in the event their employees contracted the virus.

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“There’s the legal answer but, from a practical management point of view, you don’t want to force people who are scared into doing something,” says Neuberger.

Segal echoed this sentiment, saying “it’s a horrible message to the workforce” to order employees to travel when they are fearful of a pandemic.

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To read the full text of this article, please visit the Fortune website.