Hiring guidelines during the Covid-19 pandemic

If you’re hiring during the Covid-19 pandemic, or on the job hunt, you may need a little extra patience navigating the process.

Along with interviewing, background screening, drug testing, and references, new protocols and guidelines have been put in place to ensure the safety of both current employees and new hires due to Covid-19.

How do I check employees for Covid-19 symptoms?

Part of new guidelines from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) includes testing both on-site employees, as well as job applicants.

Mandatory Covid-19 tests can be administered by employers covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) if it is “job related and consistent with business necessity,” according to EEOC. Employers with 15 or more employees, including state and local governments, are covered under ADA.

After making a job offer, companies can screen applicants for symptoms of Covid-19, as long as they do so for “all entering employees in the same type of job.” This rule applies regardless of whether the applicant has a disability.

Can I check temperatures of employees during Covid-19 pandemic?

As part of a post-offer or pre-employment medical exam, employers can also check applicants for fevers. Although symptoms of Covid-19 can be wide-ranging, a fever is one of the most common, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Not only are employers allowed to take an applicant’s temperature, but the EEOC states that “any medical exams are permitted” after an employer has made a conditional offer of employment to a job candidate.

Onboarding delays related to the Covid-19 pandemic

If you’re a job applicant who has Covid-19, or symptoms of the virus, companies can opt to delay your start date.

Along with a potential onboarding delay, employers also have the right to withdraw a job offer if the applicant has been infected with, or has symptoms of, Covid-19.

Employers cannot delay a start date or withdraw job offers if the applicant is considered “higher risk” for contracting Covid-19. These higher-risk groups include those who are 65 years old or pregnant. According to EEOC, being at greater risk “does not justify unilaterally postponing the start date or withdrawing a job offer.”

While an employer cannot delay or withdraw a job offer for those who are at higher risk, they can choose to allow telework – or remote work – for those applicants as well as discuss if they would like to delay their start date.

Covid-19 has not only changed the way we work, but also the ways we hire and ensure safety in the workplace. Whether you are an employer or job applicant, JDP offers Covid-19 antibody testing for employers, which investigates whether an individual has likely been exposed to Covid-19 in the past and has developed antibodies.

For more information on how your company can conduct Covid-19 antibody testing, or to order a test, click here.

Please note that this information is provided as a summary of important guidance from the Federal government and is not meant to convey a legal opinion. Federal guidance is frequently updated and we encourage you to visit both the EEOC website and the Department of Labor website, to get the latest information on employment law and employer obligations related to Covid-19. In addition, state and local directives will directly impact hiring related to Covid-19. Employers should contact their state and local authorities for further guidance.

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