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 antibody tests that help determine if a person has already been exposed to the virus. Enthusiasm for serology tests as a way to help get people back to work is rooted in the hope that if you have antibodies for the virus in your system, you may be immune from catching it again.
Health experts say serological tests and health screenings may play important roles in managing the pandemic.
When considering antibody tests 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.
The Food and Drug Administration suspended its normal approval processes for the express purpose of achieving more rapid and widespread testing capacity during the pandemic.
Test manufacturers have been encouraged to develop and deploy rapid, point-of-care 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 antibody screening tests.
Currently, the FDA has not yet issued an EUA for any point-of-care antibody tests. Given the current lack of any independent, unbiased evaluation of these screening tests by federal agencies, we feel it is best to arm our customers with information about the types of tests available.
Clients and their healthcare professionals may find this summary helpful in forming independent judgments on the best screening test to utilize.
Tests should be conducted by a licensed phlebotomist or a health professional operating under the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA).
Verification of reason for use is mandatory prior to shipping
Warning: Coronavirus instant test kits have not been reviewed by the FDA and results from antibody testing should not be used as the sole basis to diagnose or exclude SARS-CoV-2 infection or to inform infection status.