your employer can take your temperature, and other changes

The EEOC has issued new guidance about coronavirus in the workplace — and has clarified that some practices that wouldn’t normally be allowed are permissible during the outbreak. Here’s what you need to know.

Your employer can ask if you’ve had symptoms associated with coronavirus (fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat), if you’ve been tested and what the results were, and if you’ve had contact with anyone with symptoms or who has tested positive. However, if they’re asking this, they need to ask it of everyone or only of people who seem to have symptoms; they can’t single someone out without a legitimate reason.

Also, note that they should not ask for other medical information (which could violate the Americans with Disabilities Act) or for medical information about your family members (which could violate the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act).

Employers can take your temperature as you arrive at work. Normally medical exams are restricted under the ADA — but the law does allow exams that are “job-related and consistent with business necessity.” The EEOC says public safety during a pandemic qualifies, and this is allowed. (Bu they also say that failing to take other sensible measures to limit virus exposure — like limitations on non-essential travel, encouragement to work from home, and social distancing — may undermine an employer’s good-faith basis for using a temperature screen.)

Your employer can require you to provide a doctor’s note certifying your fitness to return to work if they’ve asked you to stay home based upon reasonable, objective evidence that you may have been infectious or if you have been quarantined by a health care provider or public health official. That said, the CDC is encouraging employers to accept less formal confirmation because of the current burden on health care providers.

If your employer learns you have coronavirus or its symptoms, they can inform fellow employees of their possible exposure to the virus, but should not identify you without your permission.

If you become infected and have only mild symptoms, coronavirus will not be considered a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). However, if your reaction is severe or complicates another health condition, you’re likely protected under the ADA and entitled to its job accommodations. (Individual states may also have more expansive disability laws.)

If you’re using the new paid sick leave related to the outbreak, your employer can require documentation of your reason. In fact, in order to receive the tax credits that fund this new sick leave, your employer is required to have the following documented:
* the qualifying reason for requesting leave
* a statement that you are unable to work, including telework, for that reason
* the source of any quarantine or isolation order
* the name of the health care provider who has advised you to self-quarantine or written documentation from a health care provider advising you to self-quarantine, if applicable

{ 115 comments… read them below }

    1. Did you read the syllabus?*

      +1. this blog, which is always great, has been even more helpful recently! Thanks Alison.

  1. Phony Genius*

    Can your employer ask if you’ve had symptoms, etc., if you are working from home?

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Oooh, good question. I just re-read what they released, and they don’t explicitly address it. I’m not a lawyer, but it reads to me like they’re saying the public health need is what allows for them to ask those questions to protect the workplace and other employees … and that would be moot if you are working from home, have been working from home for at least the past two weeks, and haven’t had contact with anyone from the business in that time. But they don’t address it specifically.

      It’s here if you want to take a look (sections A and B):

      1. Jessica Fletcher*

        I came to ask the same! My entire department is working from home at least while we’re under a stay-at-home order, which goes into May, I believe.

        Additionally – if they ask generally how we’re feeling, do we have to answer truthfully? Assuming we’re working from home and therefore any potential illness wouldn’t affect public health and safety.

        1. Jessica Fletcher*

          I’m not a fan of dishonesty, of course, but I’m very private, and my manager is a gossip who would tell everyone he knows if he knew someone was sick, even if there was no business need.

        2. HQB*

          Well, symptoms can take up to 14 days to manifest, but carriers can be contagious much earlier than that (potentially less than 24 hours after exposure), so I think there’s an argument to be made that if you’ve been in contact with anyone else from the office in the the last two weeks, then they can ask.

    2. Llellayena*

      I was asked and I’m working from home, but they are also anticipating for when the office will reopen. If the office reopens, there may need to be some people asked not to come back until after an additional 2 week period.

  2. WatchingOnward*

    I just signed up for the new sick leave, based on my inability to work full time and also care for my kids. My employer is opting to grant us FMLA for up to 80 hours at full pay, but we have to use our accrued sick time. I get that this is more advantageous to employees generally, but I would have rather taken the pay cut now since I am not paying daycare, to save my sick time with full pay for later.

      1. DecorativeCacti*

        I just looked this up and they can’t actually make you use sick leave unless you are sick. I think. This one is worded really strangely. See question 33 at this link:

        “If I am an employer, may I require my employee to take paid leave he or she may have under my existing paid leave policy concurrently with expanded family and medical leave under the EFMLEA?

        Yes. After the first two workweeks (usually 10 workdays) of expanded family and medical leave under the EFMLEA, you may require that your employee take concurrently for the same hours expanded family and medical leave and existing leave that, under your policies, would be available to the employee in that circumstance. This would likely include personal leave or paid time off, but not medical or sick leave if your employee (or a covered family member) is not ill.

        If you do so, you must pay your employee the full amount to which he or she is entitled under your existing paid leave policy for the period of leave taken. You must pay your employee at least 2/3 of his or her pay for subsequent periods of expanded family and medical leave taken, up to $200 per workday and $10,000 in the aggregate, for expanded family and medical leave. If your employee exhausts all preexisting paid vacation, personal, medical, or sick leave, you would need to pay your employee at least 2/3 of his or her pay for subsequent periods of expanded family and medical leave taken, up to $200 per day and $10,000 in the aggregate. You are free to amend your own policies to the extent consistent with applicable law.”

    1. Melly*

      I was told that if I *can* telework (despite having three elementary aged kids at home), I don’t qualify. I should just work evenings and weekends to make up for the lost time during the typical work day. I was… not particularly impressed by this answer.

  3. I'm that person*

    My company takes the temperature of everyone who comes into the building. It’s only tiny group of people who have to come in to keep things from dying.

    1. No Calculators Here*

      My company is doing the same, with a thermal camera. There’s a sign on the door that says something like, “If you choose to opt out of the screening, please proceed no further.” Obviously the situation isn’t funny, but the sign made me laugh. Crazy times.

      1. Amber Rose*

        This is the opposite of The Purge. Everything is illegal so everyone just stays home and is quiet.

      2. WoodsLord*

        I’ve always imagined this conversation starter, “Hey, boss, uh, really sorry I tried to kill you last night…”

  4. Phony Genius*

    Regarding taking employee’s temperatures as they arrive at work, my initial visualization of this was with old-fashioned invasive thermometers. That would be awkward!

          1. Mr. Shark*

            It’s better that it’s consistent, rather than some bend over and others mouth on the same thermometer. :(

    1. JustaTech*

      My friend got yelled at because she wasn’t sanitizing (with impossible to find rubbing alcohol) her no-touch thermometer between people.

      No-touch thermometer.
      The only person who touches it is holding it. Doesn’t touch anything else. But sh’es supposed to find alcohol to clean it with. And of course the institution that forwarded her the complaint won’t help her get any cleaner, so I had to send her to a distillery to find some.

  5. Newbie*

    I just started a new job in February and I’m within a 90-day probationary period where I don’t receive benefits, like health insurance or PTO. Would I still be able to fall into the paid sick leave if I get COVID-19? My employer noted that I could take unpaid time off during this 90-day period for emergencies (I have a potential for a few imminent grandparent funerals, so I asked before I accepted the offer). How would this fall with this new law? My employer would qualify as a small business.

    1. Ali G*

      You qualify if you’ve been employed for 30 days or more.
      I’ll post a link in reply

      1. I AM a lawyer.*

        You don’t have to meet any eligibility requirements for Emergency Paid Sick Leave. You do for the leave under the Emergency Family Medical Leave Act.

  6. QCI*

    What if you contract C19 in the course of your job, can medical care be covered by the employers workplace injury insurance? My wife works for a cleaning company and has/will be doing C19 remediation, but the company is less than 50 people.

      1. Sarah*

        My husband is a worker’s comp attorney and the challenge is PROVING that you contracted it at work…

      2. Emma*

        I work in the field, and there is no firm decision on this between the various workers’ comp bureaus BUT there should be guidance coming very soon (next few weeks). They are actively working together so that handling will be consistent.
        My educated guess is that folks in jobs where exposure is most likely (such as medical workers) will be able to claim under WC for sure.

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      Washington state says that it’s a work place injury and under workers comp if you are a first responder who gets it. Since you can trace it back to a patient most likely. Just like those who were quarantined after exposure. That was under workers comp.

      But a cleaning company would be a different arena, since you can’t necessarily pinpoint the infection was from work as easily.

      You’d have an upward battle there I’d say but it would be worth a try to speak to a workers comp attorney in the event it happened.

    2. Natalie*

      This is an evolving question within each state since, as noted, the trick with workers comp is proving you contracted the illness at work and not elsewhere. My state is close to passing a bill that would presume workplace exposure but it only applies to first responders and medical field employees.

  7. pcake*

    Taking people’s temperatures as part of screening isn’t that effective – for 2 to 14 days after you first contact the virus (I believe 4 to 9 days in most cases), you will have no symptoms at all, so no fever or cough or anything else. You will, however, be contagious.

    1. xosteplc*

      Wouldn’t rule someone out as being contagious, but would rule someone in. Of course they could have something besides COVID-19, but in a pandemic, no one would be likely to chance it.

        1. pcake*

          The thing is, if someone is symptomatic and has a high fever, they also feel pretty bad – I feel awful when my temperature reaches 100, weak and a bit confused. In those cases, asking should be enough as people know they don’t feel well.

          And keep in mind the woman who took fever reducers (the news didn’t say which one) so she was able to pass temperature screening to get on a plane to fly to China to get tested. Btw, she tested positive, meaning she exposed everyone on the plane.

          I feel that temperature screenings are a placebo to make people feel safer or done by people who don’t grasp that at any time, most people with the virus either feel sick and stay home, get medical care or will answer honestly or they feel fine and pass the temperature screenings and questionaires with ease. But hey, I’m not a doctor and don’t even play one on TV.

          1. Amethystmoon*

            Right, and it’s possible to be a carrier without having a fever. Also, 99 degrees is only a fever for some people, at least according to some medical web sites I checked while learning of a store using temperature screenings to prohibit people from getting food.

    2. allathian*

      Also, I can be horribly sick without running a fever, while my husband gets a fever just from colds. I’ve had influenza with just a low-grade fever.

    3. Me*

      Yes but for say first responders, you are going to want them to stop working immediately. Sure some people may have already become infected but there’s no reason to keep spreading it if possible.

  8. D3*

    My employer is requiring us to take, in this order:
    1. All currently accrued PTO
    2. An advance on any PTO we *will* earn for the rest of the year
    before they’ll okay the emergency paid sick leave under FFCRA.
    This does not seem right to me.
    Smallish company (70 employees) and the owner is VERY opposed to the new sick leave requirement and says he will “do whatever (he) can get away with to not pay it.”
    I see from your previous post that it’s not allowed to require the use of other paid time off, much less require us to BORROW from PTO we haven’t earned yet.
    Said boss is also claiming we are “essential” when we are not. (We did ONE job three years ago for an essential industry, he says we need to remain open “just in case” another essential industry needs us.)
    I know he’s a jerk and not going to change. I hope and pray I don’t need the emergency leave. But if I do, how would I go about fighting this?

    1. Katiekaboom22*

      In NYS you can report non-essential businesses staying open to the Labor Board. May be something to try?

    2. Phony Genius*

      I wonder what this employer would do if somebody borrowed from future PTO, then left the job before earning it back.

      1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        It’s legal for them to deduct advanced payment of PTO in your final check. It’s pretty common place.

        It’s in our manual but we never actually do it because it’s more of a pain than it’s worth in most instances. This guy though, he sounds like a sack of butts, so he probably would indeed dock the final check.

    3. Casper Lives*

      It’s going to be state specific on whether you can report him. I’d try to get what your boss said in writing if you can. Like a quick email, “Hey boss, I wanted to make sure I understand how leave will work if someone gets sick. First we put it in as PTO etc etc.” as a lawyer who is not giving legal advice, having things that potentially violate the law in writing can be helpful to fight in the future. :)

      Is there an (effective) HR? I’m guessing not b/c of what you described about your jerk boss. HR will advise against anything that could hurt the company, like flagrantly disobeying stay at home orders and violating federal CARES employment law…

      1. D3*

        Idiot put it out in a printed memo delivered to every employee. I already have it in writing!

  9. Atila*

    I’m in a high-risk group. Currently my department is teleworking, with a few people going in to the office as needed. But I predict that we’ll be expected to return to the office as soon as the “peak” is technically past despite ongoing risk. Colleagues are talking like we’ll be back in a few weeks even though our state is still ramping up. Can a request for continued telework be considered an accommodation if it is based on risk of exposure and belonging to a vulnerable group?

  10. TomorrowTheWorld*

    “Your employer can ask ….if you’ve been tested and what the results were”
    Most people aren’t able to get these tests done and when one gets the results back is highly variable.

  11. hbc*

    My particular county has *mandated* asking those health questions, and strongly encouraged taking temperatures. The problem we’ve run into, though, is that there’s no leeway in the order for people who have that symptom for other reasons. The way I read it, if someone has shortness of breath from a panic attack (not an unusual thing right now), he’s got to check the symptom box, and I’ve got to send him home for a week. I’m following up with our county health department, but they’re understandably swamped.

    I don’t want to tell people to lie, but I also don’t want to force the guy with the chronic smoker’s cough to stay home, especially since I can’t even furlough him (and allow him unemployment) because that would look like I’m punishing someone for being sick.

    1. Ellen*

      I have asthma and massive anxiety. Thank heaven they only take my temp. At the hospitsl.

      1. Nobby Nobbs*

        (At least where I live. For your employees’ sake, I hope you’re working somewhere where it isn’t spring right now.)

        1. GRA*

          My spring allergies are already starting up … so much congestion and itchy eyes! Thankfully I don’t usually get a cough associated with them, but when I do, it’s definitely NOT a dry cough.

    2. OyHiOh*

      My autoimmune condition leaves me fatigued and – given significant changes in fitness routine and general movement – out of breath/difficulty breathing going up stairs. I used a symptom checker last week, thinking it was an assessment of overall risk rather than an assessment of “right now” symptoms. Answered honestly on the fatigue and shortness of breath questions To no surprise at all, was told I should seek medical care immediately.

      Nah. I need a return to more normalized movement and I’ll be fine. Just need to make do until we can adequately flatten our curve.

    3. Natalie*

      Of course the difficulty here is that a smoker with a chronic cough or asthmatic with shortness of breath could just as easily also be infected, so I’m not sure it’s as simple as ignoring anyone who has an explanation for the symptom.

  12. C*

    I work with nurses so it didn’t even occur to me to feel oddly about them taking my temperature, it is just what they do. They’ve also given me a TB test before but I think medical facilities just have different norms.

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      My mom was thrilled when they started taking temperatures before work last month.

      I do think there’s a huge difference in how it feels when a nurse or medical assistant takes your temp and asks you questions than if say an HR assistant does though, that’s for sure!

  13. Lady CFO*

    Just throwing this out there… I am COVID-19 positive and only had a fever of under 100 for one day on Day 13 of being sick. Today is Day 20. :(
    Be vigilant, as the fever was the least of all symptoms!

  14. When This is Over*

    Looking forward to a time when a vaccine is available, are we allowed to require employees to get the vaccine in order to continue working at our company?

    1. DecorativeCacti*

      Look at Question 13. Looks like you can make the vaccination mandatory but you must make exceptions for those who qualify because of an ADA disability reason (or a religious one).

    2. Anonymous Canadian*

      That seems pretty unlikely to me. I would imagine at a minimum there would need to be a medical exemption for those who could not safely get the vaccine so it wouldn’t be as simple as get the vaccine if you want to keep your job.

      1. The Gollux, Not a Mere Device*

        If this is treated like vaccination requirements for school, there might be a specific list of medical conditions for which exemptions can be granted.

        The Supreme Court ruled, early in the last century, that smallpox vaccination could be made mandatory, despite the possibility for harm, because vaccinating as many people as possible was in the public interest. (Mandatory smallpox vaccination was sufficiently controversial that the question got to the Supreme Court.)

      2. nonegiven*

        I read a science article that said we’d need only 70% of the population to either recover from it, assuming that is protective, or be vaccinated against it to achieve herd immunity for this particular virus.

  15. CoffeeforLife*

    “…can inform fellow employees of their possible exposure to the virus, but should not identify you without your permission”

    Super frustrating. Our friend lives in our basement and he was just sent home from work (essential) because someone tested positive. Did he have contact with that person? How can he fully asses his own risk. Can’t. Now it’s a waiting game.

    We’ve been WFT and self- quarantined for 3 weeks now to minimize exposure.

    1. Retail not Retail*

      My job says we’ve had one positive person and somehow they only came in contact with 4 people – the 4 managers in my department.

      I didn’t find out until the next day. My manger was supposed to tell us he was on a retroactive four day quarantine. With the lack of testing and what we know about asymptomatic carriers, it feels like we’re flying blind.

    2. not me*

      I have a super-small number of reports, and one is out with COVID 19. So — everyone knows what’s going on and is just keeping a polite fiction that we don’t know exactly who it is.

  16. Third or Nothing!*

    My husband’s a welder working for an aircraft repair company, so his company is considered essential. He’s been off work on unpaid leave since mid-March since he’s got some serious sinus issues and we’re really worried what would happen if he caught COVID-19. It’s up at the end of next week, though, right when our area is supposed to peak and all hell break loose. How should he go about extending his leave? He’s not using FMLA, just the company’s regular leave policy, and the company doesn’t consider this leave as falling under medical reasons (I guess because he doesn’t have some sort of doctor’s note saying he needs to stay the heck home?). Does he even qualify for FMLA without a doctor’s order to stay home? Does he need to get one? We’re so confused right now.

    1. Third or Nothing!*

      Oh and PS the company has more than 500 employees so they’re exempt from the COVID sick leave law. We’ve got to use normal channels to keep him safe.

      1. Pennalynn Lott*

        Seems like regular FMLA would work here, assuming your husband’s primary care physician or ENT specialist (if he’s seeing one for the sinus problems) will sign off on him needing the leave. I’ve taken FMLA in the past and my management definitely didn’t know the reason, only that my doctor signed the required forms saying that I [medically] wasn’t allowed to work for X-time period. (It was because the toxic environment was wreaking havoc with my depression and I just needed to get away from it all for a while).

          1. Third or Nothing!*

            We’ll call and see what they can do remotely. They’re not letting anyone inside the building who isn’t exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms now that we’ve got a confirmed case in our little enclave. Like I said, poop’s about to hit the fan here. (He works in the major city that surrounds our suburb enclave and his employer is a multinational company, if that matters.)

          2. Third or Nothing!*

            Also thank you. We’ve never had to deal with FMLA or extended leave (beyond maternity for me) before so all of this is new AND happening in the midst of a global pandemic!

    2. Senor Montoya*

      Just based on my experience with FMLA, although not in the middle of a pandemic:

      I’d say get all the forms your husband needs, make two copies of the unfilled-in forms, and start working through one set — fill in info you already have, note info/documentation that you need and who to get it from, note whose signature you need where. Request the documentation / info that you need. Get the signatures that you need. If he is already under a doctor’s care then might not be too hard to get the doctor to supply a letter and /or fill out the medical form. My experience was that an admin filled those forms out under the doc’s direction (oncology, they were a well oiled machine!), but even if the doc has to do it themself, they are very likely to be familiar with how to do it reasonably quickly.
      Make sure you have reviewed the procedures for submitting FMLA your husband’s employer has set up — should be on HR website, if not, have him call HR and get them to email him the info and double check (nicely) to ensure you have all of it.
      Then fill in the second set of forms all pretty and make sure every i is dotted and every t crossed, because crap employers will be crap and you don’t want it held up for some dumbass bureaucratic boo boo.
      Then if you need it, it’s all ready to go.

      1. Third or Nothing!*

        Thankfully my husband’s employer is actually great, they’re just being weirdly cavalier about this whole thing…at least from what he’s heard from his coworkers while he’s been out this last month. Which is extra weird because he’s one of the youngest there by a good 20 years. Airplanes still gotta fly, I guess.

        We’ll have to call his doctor to see what they can do over the phone/email. They’re not letting anyone inside the building who isn’t exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms. Everyone else has to do telemedicine.

    3. Tony T*

      What does a “Doctor’s Note” say and look like? E-mail? On an Rx pad (if anyone uses those … ). I read the term and wonder how I would get one form Dr. R.J.B. Just asking. How would the boss know that it is real? Easy to fake one, these days.

  17. Anna*

    “If your employer learns you have coronavirus or its symptoms, they can inform fellow employees of their possible exposure to the virus, but should not identify you without your permission.”

    What do you do when that is too late? I was obligated by my workplace to tell my boss that I have tested positive for COVID. Next thing I know, I am receiving a slew of messages from colleagues. I never consented to revealing my name or health status. My fellow colleagues were not possible exposures. What can an employee do regarding such a breach of confidentiality?

    1. Retail not Retail*

      Identifying your department and seeing who took off as possible exposure immediately after the announcement may have answered that question without a leak.

    2. not me*

      yeah – I said above that I have a limited number of direct reports and only one is out sick (with COVID) — but my reports are all cooperating with the polite fiction that we don’t know who it is — but EVERYONE DOES

      1. not me*

        Honestly, it sucks that everyone knows, but it’s just super-easy to put two and two together in most work environments.

        I’m so sorry you are sick! hang in there!

        1. Show Me the Money*

          Why does it suck? There’s no stigma with C19 like there was with HIV. In a public health crisis, privacy has to be secondary to preventing spread of this pathogen.

          1. Eliza*

            Unfortunately, I think you’re being overly optimistic about there being no stigma. In particular, there have been multiple instances of physical violence against Asian people who were suspected of carrying the virus, sometimes just because they were wearing a mask in public.

          2. Why does it suck?*

            I must disagree with the assumption that “there’s no stigma with C19”.

            This isn’t just something that sucks, but also something that needs to be dealt with tactfully. There is huge pressure to everyone, and especially amongst essential workers, who are truly just out there doing their best. For those who get it, the world assumes that they failed to follow the instructions, and truly, some people will not survive the disease, nor the stigma. This article reveals a nurse who commits suicide after finding out that she was COVID positive. Stigma is real, and can cost lives, whether you choose to acknowledge it or not.

            1. Show Me the Money*

              I totally disagree with you. Were you around when HIV/AIDS was in it’s infancy? Now THAT was stigma. This is much more like the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic.

              Racism against Asians is just that, racism.

              I don’t assume anything regarding those who test positive, as so little is known about this virus. I assume everyone has it until proven otherwise. I reiterate that in a public health crisis, privacy comes second. Contact tracing, which has long been a standard disease outbreak control practice (not being done with covid, but that’s another story), and is used for things like venereal disease, requires breaking anonymity. Protecting lives comes first. I applaud those publicly describing their experiences with testing positive, and I would be so angry to find out that someone I worked with closely tested positive and I wasn’t told out of concern for privacy. What about my right to protect my health?

          3. GRA*

            My daughter, who is in middle school, said that many of the kids in her grade have talked about how they’re going to shun anyone who ends up with COVID-19. And that can’t all be coming from 12/13 year olds on their own. Don’t kid yourself that there’s not COVID-19 shaming out there (as terrible as I think that is. Definitely sat down and had a conversation about that one.)

            Anna, I’m so sorry you’re sick with this and I wish you a speedy (and shame-free) recovery!!

    3. Anonymous for This*

      This is happening in our office. If you have tested positive, are in the process of being tested, or live with someone who tested positive or is being tested, you are also required to stay at home for a certain period of time. As a manager, all I can say is “Jane won’t be in the office.” But if Jane has been coughing in the office for the last few days, and is suddenly out of the office, I have a slew of people panicked about whether or not they should be tested or they should quarantine themselves at home. To be fair, a *lot* of people at my job care for at least one person in an at-risk age groups (babies, elderly, immuno-compromised relatives, etc.) in their personal lives, so their concern is understandable. OR they are going to assume Jane is COVID-19 positive and operate accordingly. *LUCKILY* nothing about the gossip is “negative” but all I can do as a manager is say that we shouldn’t talk about actual or perceived health conditions of other people at work, and move on. Well, that’s not true, we do have an employer mandate that no one is to name (for instance, on social media, but also in conversation with someone else) an employee who may have tested positive or is being tested, so I can remind them that it is against policy, but really…the chances of me overhearing this is very slim, and the chances of them having these conversations/presumptions are VERY high.

      1. Show Me the Money*

        People are scared and knowledge is power. I don’t know why that is so hard to understand.

        1. Mr. Shark*

          I don’t understand why people shouldn’t have the knowledge of who the person is who tested positive. I don’t see that as a stigma, but as needing to know in case you’ve been in contact with that person. That seems like essential knowledge that you have a right to know, so you can quarantine for 14 days from anyone who might have a higher risk.

  18. Bilateralrope*

    I work security, and I’ve worked a few sites where they took temperatures upon entry. Honestly, I question the usefulness of the measure as they were only taking skin temperature. They would have turned away people with a temperature above 38C.

    But the highest measurement I saw was 32C, most around 30C. A healthy temperature is around 37C. Since nobody had any of the other signs of hypothermia, it’s clear that it wasn’t measuring core body temperature. So I worry about someone having fever, giving a reading of 36C, then being allowed in because skin temperature is lower than body temperature, giving a false sense of safety.

    1. not me*

      one of my co-workers was 85 degrees at her check in earlier this week . . . yeah — it’s not working well

      1. Ktelzbeth*

        I was 86° this morning with a forehead thermometer just after I’d walked 20 minutes outside.

      1. Bilateralrope*

        A laser thermometer. Aimed at the forehead, just after a person came in from outside.

        1. JustaTech*

          Yeah, those can work, but only if you take them in the right environment (inside, out of the wind), and you need to take them from a specific distance, which is usually pretty close. Any temperature I take from 6 feet away is just going to be nonsense.

    2. WS*

      Laser thermometers are commonly used, but they come with a guide as to what is an elevated temperature. If the standard was 30-32C and they were waiting for 38C, either they were measuring wrong or someone hadn’t read the manual!

  19. not me*

    one of my co-workers was 85 degrees at her check in earlier this week . . . yeah — it’s not working well

  20. Caroline Bowman*

    Well this is interesting!

    I wonder where the folks are who so rudely told me I needed to stop commenting when I suggested asking for a temperature check to corroborate the ”I think I have covid-19 and thus am not going to be working” excuse-makers (the ones who are very unlikely to have it but are taking advantage of the paid leave to stay home and do nothing) that was raised a a week or so ago?

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      It’s still illegal to do that because you think someone is lying. You need to do it for everyone or for people who you suspect *do* have the virus because of their symptoms.

      Also, some people with corona don’t have a fever so a temperature check doesn’t corroborate anything.

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