Can my employer screen me for COVID-19?Updated May 20
The Ontario government has told employers that they should screen employees for COVID-19 before allowing them into the workplace.
An employee's right to privacy is balanced against the employers need for information to provide a safe workplace. A safe workplace includes taking steps to try to stop the spread of infectious diseases like COVID-19.
Asking you questions
There is an online tool for worker and employee screening. This screening involves asking you if you've had:
- any symptoms, or
- any contact with someone who has the virus.
Both vaccinated and unvaccinated workers should be screened before they go to work each day.
Checking your temperature
The Ontario Human Rights Commission says that temperature checks may be okay because they are not invasive. These tests can be done using an infrared thermometer pointed at your forehead. Nothing is inserted into your body.
What your employer can do with the information
If your employer collects medical information like your temperature, they must do it in a way that respects your right to privacy.
This means that your employer must collect as little information as possible. And they can share the information only with people who need to know. For example, if you test negative for COVID-19, this information should only be shared with the person or team responsible for keeping COVID-19 screening records. And the record should be kept in a secure place.
If you test positive for COVID-19, your employer should you. For example, this might mean allowing you to work at home or looking at other ways you can continue to work safely if you feel well enough to work.
They should also not discipline or fire you because of a positive COVID-19 result. Ontario's human rights laws say that everyone has the right to:
- be treated equally, and
- not be discriminated against at work because of a or serious sickness like COVID-19.