Safely bringing employees back to office

How employers can safely bring employees back to the office

As offices slowly start to reopen and employees begin to return, employers are likely busy planning how to keep everyone safe once they’re back under one roof. Not only are employers tasked with safely bringing employees back, but also creating a secure environment for customers and clients.

You might be trying to find the right way to screen your employees for illness as you start bringing employees back to the office. In issues of health, however, there are several compliance laws and regulations you must follow to protect their privacy. Screening your employees is possible. Though there is a lot of planning and considerations you need to take into account first.

Compliance with medical regulations

You can ask your employees whether they have experienced symptoms of COVID-19 and if they have been diagnosed with COVID-19. However, once you gather any medical information from your employees, it’s your responsibility to keep that information confidential. If any of your employees test positive for COVID-19, you can alert the rest of your staff, but you must not disclose the identity of the sick employee.

If you’re hiring new employees or re-screening current employees, some background screenings may include medical information including drug testing, physicals and more. First, you need to receive consent to screen anyone. This can easily be done with One Source’s contact-free release forms. As always, the content of a screening report is between you, the employee and the reporting agency. Essentially, do everything in your power to keep your team informed about the health of your company while protecting the privacy of individual employees.

Planning for a healthy work environment

Part of your plan for reopening your office should focus on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) guidelines. This will allow you to provide a risk-free work place. This may require you to move desks apart, enforce social distancing measures and more. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) offers a comprehensive guide to maintaining a safe work environment as the pandemic continues.

Your strategy for returning to the office may include some new hires. You may feel the need to screen new employees or applicants for COVID-19 before they can enter the office. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently released guidelines on how to fairly screen new hires. You can request that new hires get screened for COVID-19 after you make a conditional job offer and before they start working. If you want to screen all qualified applicants for COVID-19, you must also screen all new employees in the same role.

You can also require temperature checks as employees enter the office. Some thermometers simply say whether or not you have a fever, keeping the exact temperature of your employees private.

Many employers right now are juggling their plans to return to the office safely while managing screenings and information privacy. One Source can help you manage screenings efficiently and let you focus on keeping your team safe. Learn more by contacting our Client Relations team today.