Temperature Check Policy Considerations for Apartment Operators

Posted By: Jon Lowder Blog,

In another sign of the extraordinary circumstances that COVID-19 has put us in, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) gave the okay for employers to take employees' temperatures in an effort to prevent the spread of the virus. There are, however, important policy considerations you need to make before you implement a temperature-check program and the Society of Human Resource Management has a good article on their site that can help you identify them. Here are some excerpts:

But, he said, "be super careful about taking temperatures, in part because what does it really tell you? Plenty have contagion who do not have a [high] temperature."...

The temperature reading should be kept confidential, Nowak said, and the person administering the temperature check should be trained on the procedure. He expressed skepticism that a lawsuit would result from taking workers' temperatures...

But ensure that there is social distancing and keep people at least six feet apart when they are standing in line to have their temperatures measured. Bear in mind that taking temperatures may not be nearly as effective at preventing the spread of the coronavirus as sheltering in place, where possible...

Ideally, employers would have a willing volunteer who takes others' temperatures, said Isaac Mamaysky, an attorney with Potomac Law Group in New York City. 

With proper training, personal protective equipment, a no-touch thermometer and an understanding of confidentiality considerations, a nonmedical professional can take temperatures and help keep the workplace safe, he said...

"Before lining up your employees to scan their foreheads," she cautioned, "consider the safety, privacy and employee relations concerns."

Berger recommended considering the following questions:

  • How will an employer select an employee to administer the infrared scan?
  • How will that employee be protected from the virus?
  • How will the privacy of employees subjected to the infrared scan be protected?
  • How will this action affect employee morale?

The full article is definitely worth a read since it covers many legal considerations in much more detail.