Can I Really Do Temperature Checks? … and Other Employer Questions, Answered by EEOC

What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws

The EEOC has issued guidance on screening employees and customers without violating anti-discrimination laws. For the complete text, see:


  1. Yes, an employer may perform a health screening that includes temperature checks and other guidelines and suggestions made by the CDC or state/local public health authorities about steps employers should take regarding COVID-19. Employers should remember that guidance from public health authorities is likely to change as the COVID-19 pandemic evolves. Therefore, employers should continue to follow the most current information on maintaining workplace safety.
  2. If an employee calls in sick, an employer may ask if the employee if he or she is experiencing symptoms of the pandemic virus. For COVID-19, these include symptoms such as fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, or sore throat. Employers must maintain all information about employee illness as a confidential medical record in compliance with the ADA. As public health authorities and doctors learn more about COVID-19, they are expand the list of associated symptoms and employers should rely on the CDC, other public health authorities, and reputable medical sources for guidance.
  3. Taking the body temperature of an employee is a medical exam and while an employer may do so because of the direct threat caused by COVID 19, an employer should bear in mind that some people with COVID 19 do not have a fever.
  4. An employer may require an employee to say home if they are ill and require medical documentation before returning to work.

The guidance also includes advice for onboarding and hiring, returning employees to work following an illness, and enforcement of anti-harassment policies.

PSB Law is here to help workers and companies understand the law and their rights during these difficult times., .

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