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What can your employer require you to do amid the pandemic?

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has given the green light to employers to test workers for COVID-19 before they enter the workplace.

ATLANTA — Under normal circumstances, employers typically wouldn’t pry into your health, but with the pandemic, there are exceptions to keep you and your coworkers safe.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has given the green light to employers to test workers for COVID-19 before they enter the workplace to determine if they have the virus. 

The Americans with Disabilities Act requires that any mandatory medical test of employees be “job related and consistent with business necessity.” 

Your employer can legally ask whether you have any of the COVID-19 symptoms, which include fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath and sore throat. 

RELATED: Where to get free COVID-19 test if you have no symptoms

Dr. Alex Alonso, Society for Human Resource Management's Chief Knowledge Officer, said, there is a limit to what your employer can ask you. 

"They can't ask you specifically about your family's exposure to COVID-19. Now, they can ask you whether or not somebody has been exposed but they can't really get into deep dive reasons why your family has been exposed," he said. 

Alonso added that your employer can ask to check your temperature with the understanding that just because you have a fever doesn't mean you have the virus.

 "It is not purely indicative of COVID, and so they are not necessarily the end all be all when it comes to being sure or safe when it comes to COVID," Alonso said

So, what if you do have symptoms of the virus? 

Your employer can require you to stay home, following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's guidelines. Alonso also said most employers can even ask you to stay home for just being sick. 

"It doesn't have to be COVID. It could be anything as simple as the cold, it could be anything as simple as the flu. Those type of things you can ask somebody to go home," he added. 

He said most employers can't ask you to take an antibody test, which is the blood test that shows whether you may have been exposed in the past, but aren’t sick right now. 

11Alive is focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the virus. We want to keep you informed about the latest developments while ensuring that we deliver confirmed, factual information. 

We will track the most important coronavirus elements relating to Georgia on this page. Refresh often for new information.


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