Since the WHO and CDC have declared that we are in the midst of a COVID-19 Pandemic, the EEOC has allowed the taking of employee temperatures.
I recently was a panelist on a webinar hosted by the World Health Congress & The Validation Institute and I was able to discuss the taking of employee temperatures with Dr. Ian Lipkin, head of Epidemiology at Columbia University.
Dr. Lipkin stated that a person with COVID-19 might be asymptomatic so the taking of employee temps shouldn’t be the only thing you do or rely on. On the other hand, you may identify a person who has a fever who might not be aware of it. Overall, it is a worthwhile exercise.
It is so worthwhile that Burger King, McDonalds, and many other fast food restaurants are rapidly procuring thermometers to start this process.
A couple of things to consider:
- You should know why are you doing this?
- Is this to protect you from a potential future liability?
- Is this to stop a potentially sick employee from working today?
- Or Both?
- Where are you storing this data?
- Not planning on recording the temp, just checking as the employee enters the restaurant.
- In a Platform like OpsAnalitica.
- Keeping this written down on paper.
- How long are you planning on storing the data?
- This data must be kept confidential.
- You are allowed to ask questions about COVID-19 only, and I suggest that you do.
- You should definitely ask if the person has taken fever reducers in the last 24 hours.
- You should also ask specifically if an employee has been in contact with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
- You should ask the employee if they have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
- Do you have a plan for what you are going to do if you identify a sick employee?
- You should document that you sent the employee home and what symptoms they were exhibiting.
- If a person is exhibiting symptoms today, they could have been contagious for up to a week. You should pull schedules for the last week.
- I would suggest that the person get a COVID-19 test and offer to pay for it if necessary.
- Where in your restaurant are you going to fill out this questionnaire and take their temperature?
- If the person has COVID-19 and they are on the line, what are the consequences of them being close to food?
- Doing this by the entrance door makes a lot of sense, it would be the easiest area to clean and sanitize?
- What kind of thermometer are you going to use?
- Make sure to disinfect it in between uses.
- Definitely use a forehead thermometer or ear. You don’t want to use an oral thermometer.
- Is the manager going to take the temperature or is the employee.
- Some thermometers are hard to take your own temperature.
- If a manager is going to be getting very close to an employee, they should wear a mask.
- Managers and employees should do their best to maintain social distancing protocols.
- What if an employee is coughing but doesn’t have a fever?
- Coughing and fever are the two main symptoms of COVID-19. I would recommend sending the employee home until their coughing stops.
- Do you have health insurance and Sick Leave?
- I believe you have to cover 14 days of sick pay for people who are diagnosed with COVID-19. You should confirm this in your state.
- Does your current sick leave policy create an incentive for employees to lie to you? If yes, you should correct that immediately.
We have created a health verification form to use for employees. It guides the manager through asking questions and taking temperatures. It is a part of our free COVID-19 resources.
If you are interested in learning more or taking advantage of these resources, please open a chat in the bottom right hand corner of the page.
To get some more information on the legal aspects of taking temperatures of employees you can check out these resources: