By: P. Elizabeth Helms – The Saqui Law Group
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) has issued guidance on performing employee health checks specifically in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. You may read that guidance here. This guidance provides recommendations as to how and when an employer may opt to take an employees’ temperature and conduct a COVID-19 health screening pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act. Such health checks are permissible under the current pandemic conditions, but not mandatory.
However, employers must consider a potential wage-and-hour trap: Time spent by hourly nonexempt employees performing or submitting to such health checks is compensable. Employers must be sure to accurately capture, record and pay that time, regardless of how small it may seem. Employers are required to compensate nonexempt employees for all hours worked (even for the onsite health checks).
However, employers can and should implement policies and protocols in an effort to avoid this potential wage-and-hour trap. For example, employers can install multiple screening stations or stagger shifts to minimize the overall wait time and set the timing and location of health check stations to ensure the checks are captured as on-duty compensable time.