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EEOC Clarifies that Employers Should Not Screen for COVID19 Antibodies

posted Jun 17, 2020, 1:42 PM by Christopher Vrountas

The EEOC clarified today that while employers may screen employees for active cases of COVID19, employer may not screen employee for COVID19 antibodies as a precondition for returning to the workplace.  The EEOC’s position in part relies on the CDC’s recent guidance providing that antibody test results should not be used in making decisions in the workplace.  Bottom line, the EEOC takes the position that an antibody screen constitutes a medical examination under the ADA and that such a test would not be job related or consistent with business necessity given the CDC’s position on the issue. 

Here’s the new EEOC guidance on the issue: 

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A.7.  CDC said in its Interim Guidelines that antibody test results “should not be used to make decisions about returning persons to the workplace.” In light of this CDC guidance, under the ADA may an employer require antibody testing before permitting employees to re-enter the workplace? (6/17/20)

No. An antibody test constitutes a medical examination under the ADA. In light of CDC’s Interim Guidelines that antibody test results “should not be used to make decisions about returning persons to the workplace,” an antibody test at this time does not meet the ADA’s “job related and consistent with business necessity” standard for medical examinations or inquiries for current employees. Therefore, requiring antibody testing before allowing employees to re-enter the workplace is not allowed under the ADA.  Please note that an antibody test is different from a test to determine if someone has an active case of COVID-19 (i.e., a viral test).  The EEOC has already stated that COVID-19 viral tests are permissible under the ADA.

The EEOC will continue to closely monitor CDC’s recommendations, and could update this discussion in response to changes in CDC’s recommendations.

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Here's the link to the entire EEOC guidance: https://www.eeoc.gov/wysk/what-you-should-know-about-covid-19-and-ada-rehabilitation-act-and-other-eeo-laws?utm_content=&utm_medium=email&utm_name=&utm_source=govdelivery&utm_term=


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