Returning to Work: What It Means for You

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The city’s beginning to reopen—meaning many of us will return to work before too long. Before heading back to the office, however, it’s important to understand what new legal precautions employers can take to ensure a safe work environment—and what this means for you.


Here’s what an employer CAN do under the current pandemic conditions:


  • Take the temperature of employees entering the workplace.


  • Ask employees if they’ve had COVID-19, shown symptoms of the virus, or have been tested.


  • Ask employees if they’ve had any contact with anyone who’s tested positive or has shown symptoms of the virus.


If you’re an employer, local industry leaders recommend that you:


  • Create a consistent process. Ask all employees the same questions (perhaps via questionnaire). If you’re going to take temperatures, check everyone.


  • Be intentional. Only ask questions of a specific employee if you have reasonable belief (based on objective evidence) that they might have the virus—such as showing obvious symptoms defined by the CDC. (Note – confidentiality such as the identity of those who have the virus must be maintained.)


If you’re an employee, it’s even more important to understand the ramifications if you refuse to cooperate with these new workplace guidelines.


An employer can bar an employee from the workplace if they:


  • Have the virus or show symptoms.


  • Refuse to answer questions about whether they have symptoms.


  • Refuse temperature checks.


However, employers may ask why an employee refuses the above. In this instance, reassure them that these are measures taken to ensure the safety of everyone in the workplace—we’re all doing our best here!


At Staffing Solutions, Inc., we feel it is our responsibility to share this information that can—and will—affect us all. Our clients and applicants alike deserve to make informed decisions to best benefit themselves, their families, and their organizations.


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Edwards, G., & Jellinek, C. (2020). St. Louis employment expert offers a guide to the tricky legal terrain of reopening your business. St. Louis Business Journal.