KingSpry | HR Law Update Temperature Screening FAQs

HR Law Update: Three FAQ’s for Managing Temperature Screenings in the COVID-19 Era

Posted on May 8th, 2020
by Keely J. Collins

As employers plan to reenter the workplace, the value of protective options must be weighed against the cost of disruption. One protective option is temperature screening.

Here are 3 frequently asked questions and answers to support you, as a business leader, in developing and implementing temperature screening protocols.

Question #1: Is temperature screening legally required?

Answer: Generally speaking, no, except for where the business is exposed to a probable or confirmed case of COVID-19. For Pennsylvania workplaces, the Department of Health has ordered that temperature screening occur for the first 14 days after exposure.  Although the Department of Health’s Order is not law, failure to comply may result in legal liability.

Question #2: Can employers rely on employees’ at-home screenings?

Answer: Under most circumstances, yes, employers may rely on at-home screenings. According to guidance released by the Department of Health, required screenings should occur on the employer’s premises. However, for general wellness screenings or screenings after the first 14 days following exposure, at-home screenings are likely preferable for both privacy and practical reasons.

Question #3: Should employers maintain documentation on employee temperatures?

Answer: No, in most cases, employers should avoid keeping records of employee temperatures. For the first 14 days after exposure, employers may want to log (perhaps by a simple checklist) that employees were screened and met the minimum threshold provided by the Department of Health.  In most cases, however, there is no need to maintain documentation detailing the specific results of screenings. In fact, employees’ specific temperature screening results are considered a confidential medical record that must be maintained according to the standards set by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

If you have any questions, you may contact your own employment counsel, or you may contact me a kcollins@kingspry.com. As always, we will keep you updated!

HR Law Update is a publication of the KingSpry Employment Law Practice Group. Keely Jac Collins is managing editor. HR Law Update is meant to be informational and does not constitute legal advice.