Millions of Americans have tested positive for the coronavirus, so odds are that one or more of your employees will test positive in the coming months. But there is a smart (and legal) way to communicate this news to your employees.
The wrong way: When a member of the WWE wrestling production crew got the virus, the infected employee’s name was disclosed on social media even before the WWE staff found out.
Employees deserve to hear the news from you, not via rumors or the media. But make sure to handle it legally.
The ADA’s confidentiality rules apply to these communications, and the employee’s positive test is still a confidential medical record. That means you can’t divulge the identity of the person who tests positive.
You should, however, use that letter or email to communicate to employees that they may have come in contact with someone who tested positive and they should be diligent about monitoring their own health for possible symptoms. Also, go beyond this alert to make employees feel safer.
“You can flip the story around into one focused on everything you are
doing to protect the health and safety of your employees,” says attorney Jon Hyman.
Source: Employment Law, August 2020 | Jon Hyman