As the COVID-19 pandemic continues into the summer, public health concerns are of the utmost importance, and Guy Carpenter is actively developing a view of how COVID-19 may impact businesses as employees begin returning to their offices.
And as business activity ramps up from COVID-19-related restrictions, companies are determining just how they will create a safe space for their workers, customers and clients. As they do, the potential exists for a variety of lawsuits and claims related to employment practices and wage and hour liability, according to Kelly Thoerig, Employment Practices Liability Coverage Leader at Marsh. Marsh is an affiliate of Guy Carpenter.
Take temperature checks, for example. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the consensus was that temperature-taking by an employer was considered an impermissible medical exam under the Americans with Disabilities Act, and therefore, employers were cautioned to avoid the practice. That thinking changed quickly and dramatically due to COVID-19. Although it’s helpful that the issue has been clarified — employers now have the blessing of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to take temperatures, along with other diagnostic screening measures — the practice still creates the opportunity for risk.
The challenge for employers is that the EEOC has not provided specific guidance or protocols for companies to follow as to how to take temperatures or conduct other tests.