Ask An Expert: Can Your Employer Make You Get A COVID-19 Test?

Excerpts and edited notes for this blog were referenced from an “Ask An Expert” KCBS radio station 740 FM segment on September 22nd, 2020 at 9:20 AM hosted by Stan Bunger. The following blog is presented for viewers to validate, accept and/or decline its content and findings on their own.

As we continue to navigate these unprecedented times, KCBS Radio spoke with Stephen Glazier, workplace safety consultant at the insurance brokerage Woodruff Sawyer.

Ask An Expert

As more sectors of life reopen and people return to work, the expectations around what constitutes a safe working environment have radically changed.

One significant change is that employers may ask workers to get a coronavirus test. Many people have reported that their employers are requiring them to get a negative test result before returning to work.

“Yes, your employer can ask you to be tested,” said Stephen Glazier, workplace safety consultant at the insurance brokerage Woodruff Sawyer. “What has happened around this entire paradigm is that the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) has allowed things that maybe wouldn’t be allowed in a normal atmosphere, for sake of addressing the pandemic.”

But Glazier says that like many standards and expectations this year, that could change. He advises employers to keep in close contact with their counsel so that they know when they may have to pull back.

Test results, like all health information, is still considered confidential.

“The treatment of the information, in other words the outcome of the testing, nothing has changed about that.  That’s still private information,” said Glazier.

Under a new California law specific to the pandemic, employers are also required to take action if an employee tests positive for the virus.

AB 685, which has been signed into law by Gov. Newsom, requires employers to notify employees and contractors if any of their colleagues test positive. Not only that, the law requires employers to provide notice if there is any potential exposure in the workplace.