What COVID-19 tests can you require employees to take and what can you do with customers who come into your place of business without masks? I just want to provide some quick clarification.
You should be screening employees every day. And, if someone has symptoms, you will want to send them home. However, rather than lose the employee for a couple of weeks when it may just be allergies, you can require them to be tested for COVID-19. But remember, it’s only a snapshot in time. I’m hearing from clients that their employees are dragging out the testing for more paid time off. So, it may be best to make the appointment for them so they can be tested, found to be negative and returned to work sooner.
However, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has now issued guidance clarifying that testing for antibodies is not permitted. First these tests are not necessarily reliable. Second, it’s still not known what the presence of antibodies means. Does the person have immunity? If so, how long will the immunity last? Therefore, testing for antibodies serves no purpose other than resolving a person’s curiosity.
If your employees have interaction with the public, they must wear masks. I was in a couple of stores lately and was appalled that none of the employees wore them. Those stores have lost a customer.
But the trickier issue is how to handle the customer who comes knocking without a mask. The EEOC makes clear that if the individual has a medical condition that would make breathing difficult with a mask they cannot be required to wear one. I have heard that there are disability advocate groups “testing” businesses looking for lawsuits (as they have for years with accessibility issues).
I find, however, more often than not, that the offender looks like the specimen of health and I suspect the person is just refusing to wear one. Apparently, they don’t understand that it’s not about them; it’s about protecting those around them.
While such actions are inconsiderate, you can’t require a doctor’s note to excuse the mask if the person claims to have a medical issue affecting their ability to wear one. Also, given that people have been shot for insisting on one, you may not want your employees to throw the customer out if they simply refuse.
Hopefully, public shaming by customers will convey the message.
- Senior Attorney
An attorney in the firm’s Detroit office, Claudia D. Orr exclusively represents and advises employers and management in employment and labor law matters.
Ms. Orr's clients include Fortune 500 companies, local governments ...
Add a comment
SubscribeRSS Plunkett Cooney LinkedIn Page Plunkett Cooney Twitter Page Plunkett Cooney Facebook Page
- Employment Liability
- Labor Law
- Wage & Hour
- Human Resources
- Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
- Unemployment Benefits
- Department of Labor (DOL)
- Employment Discrimination
- OSHA Issues
- Employment Agreement
- Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
- Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
- Title VII
- Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)
- National Labor Relations Act
- Workplace Harassment
- Sick Leave
- Regulatory Law
- Workers' Compensation
- Paid Medical Leave Act (PMLA)
- Minimum Wage
- National Labor Relations Board
- Transgender Issues
- Sexual Harassment
- Civil Rights
- Whistleblower Protection Act
- Non-compete Agreements
- Social Media
- Retail Liability
- Emergency Information
- Class Actions
- Business Risk Management
- Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA)
- Hostile Work Environment
- Department of Education (DOE)
- Tax Law
- Title IX
- Medical Marijuana
- Right to Work
- Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
- Union Organizing & Relations
- One, Two, Three Strikes You’re OUT… When Dealing With Attendance Rules!
- Failure To Apply Duties Test Results in Ruling Against Employer in Wage Claim Appeal
- MIOSHA Suspends May 24 Rule, Makes COVID-19 Mitigation Measures Discretionary for Non-Health Care Employers
- ‘VACC To Normal’ Means Back to the Office for Michigan Starting May 24
- Michigan Pushes to Pandemic Finish Line by Promoting Double Vaccine Benefit
- Contractual Limitations Periods and Federal Civil Rights Claims
- Remote Work Still Required Amid Covid-19 Surge in Michigan
- DOL Opinion Letter Withdrawals Continue Under Biden Administration
- Worker’s Comp Coverage Would Have Been A Good Thing for This Employer
- Important COVID-19 Updates for Michigan Employers