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From the Hotline: Employee COVID-19 Exposure Concerns

This is an excerpt from our recent eBook – From the HR Hotline: Five Questions on COVID-19 Exposure in the Workplace. The eBook answers common questions we’ve received now that employees are returning to work.

Question

Employees are concerned they were exposed to a recently diagnosed co-worker.
Do I tell them who it is?
Do they have to self-quarantine if they were exposed?

Answer

You cannot provide the name of the employee infected with COVID-19. The EEOC is clear that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) does not permit a broad disclosure of medical information of a specific employee. Likewise, broad disclosure of medical information is not recommended by the CDC.

Even if employees might be able to figure out who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, employers are still prohibited from confirming or revealing the employee’s identity in the notice or when asked by other employees.

Only those employees who worked within 6 feet of the diagnosed employee for 15 minutes or more, within 48 hours prior to the sick employee showing symptoms or later, are currently recommended to self-quarantine for 14 days. During that time, they should self-monitor for symptoms and avoid contact with individuals with underlying conditions

This approach follows the CDC contact tracing guidelines for general businesses. For information on self-quarantine recommendations, see the CDC’s General Business Frequently Asked Questions.

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