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Home » EEOC Guidance on Mandatory COVID-19 Testing

EEOC Guidance on Mandatory COVID-19 Testing

by | Oct 25, 2023 | HR Legal Compliance

Despite the fact that many employers have resumed operations after the pandemic, a significant number have decided to continue implementing COVID safety measures at their workplaces as a precautionary measure. While certain companies have made it mandatory for employees to provide proof of vaccination or a negative test result, others have taken it a step further by requiring on-site testing.

However, a noteworthy development occurred on July 12th when the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) revised its technical assistance manual, necessitating that employers provide a valid rationale for their mandatory COVID-19 testing policies. What do employers need to be aware of regarding this recent update, and how can they ensure their organization complies with these new requirements?

EEOC Requires Justification for Mandatory Testing

Throughout the pandemic, the EEOC has consistently revised its technical assistance manual concerning the management of COVID-19 in the workplace, with a focus on ensuring that employees remain safeguarded under anti-discrimination laws. In the most recent update, which was made on July 12th, the EEOC made revisions to their criteria for mandatory testing.

The new guidelines state, “If an employer seeks to implement screening testing for employees, such testing must meet the “business necessity” standard based on relevant facts.” The EEOC also outlined for employers possible considerations that would fall under “business necessity,” including the following:

  • The level of community transmission
  • The vaccination status of employees
  • The accuracy and speed of processing for different types of COVID-19 viral tests
  • The degree to which breakthrough infections are possible for employees who are “up to date” on vaccinations,
  • The ease of transmissibility of the current variant(s)
  • The possible severity of illness from the current variant
  • What types of contacts employees may have with others in the workplace or elsewhere that they are required to work (e.g., working with medically vulnerable individuals)
  • The potential impact on operations if an employee enters the workplace with COVID-19

With this recent update, the responsibility now falls upon employers to guarantee adherence to any compulsory COVID-19 testing protocols. Although keeping abreast of EEOC regulations may require an initial investment of time and other valuable resources for your organization, it could ultimately prevent your organization from facing more substantial and costly challenges in the future.

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