Considerations for Uncertain Times
Universal Employment Issues During a Pandemic
The COVID pandemic has created new obstacles in maintaining a safe and productive work environment – which can be especially challenging if you have public-facing employees who are at high risk of either contracting or spreading the virus.
For most businesses, thoughtful return-to-work policies and medical screening programs will help improve productivity while also protecting the health and well-being of employees and customers.
Highly vulnerable businesses may also benefit from new laboratory tests that help determine if a person has the virus -- or if they have already been exposed to the virus.
Health experts say testing and health screenings may play important roles in managing the pandemic.
When considering testing or the use of medical screenings to help determine if employees can remain or return to the workplace, employers should seek counsel before enacting any new policies. The failure to carefully and thoughtfully enact new screening policies could cause employers to run afoul of federal and state employment laws.
Workplace Medical Screening:
During and After a Pandemic
Everyone understands the importance of conducting thorough background checks on new employees, but deciding what's needed when rehiring a laid-off employee may be more complicated. There is no perfect answer, but the type of position and the time elapsed since separation should influence what checks are needed, if any.
For rehires that have been separated for a minimal time period, we are extending special pricing on our basic re-screening package, which starts at less than $6.00 per employee. For rehires that have been separated for extended periods, we recommend running your standard background screening package, or you may contact us to build a special package of searches.
ESS has partnered with leading CLIA-certified laboratories to offer both antibody and PCR/molecular COVID-19 tests specifically designed for ease of use in the workplace.
Antibody Tests: These lab-based tests help identify if a person may have already been infected by COVID-19 and has built up antibodies. At this time, it is unknown for how long antibodies persist following infection and if the presence of antibodies offers protective immunity.
PCR/Molecular Tests: These lab-based tests are used to determine if a person may have an active COVID-19 infection.
In most cases, testing must be ordered by a physician or authorized healthcare provider. Testing samples (blood or saliva) may be collected on-site, or in some cases, self-administered from an individual's home.
Collected samples are mailed to the lab for processing. Results are usually provided within 24-48 hours of receipt.
Laboratories have been encouraged to develop and deploy screening tests, provided they file an application with the FDA for an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) along with validation studies to support the efficacy and accuracy of these screening tests.
Warning: Not all Coronavirus test kits have been reviewed by the FDA and results from testing should not be used as the sole basis to diagnose or exclude SARS-CoV-2 infection or to inform infection status.