WASHINGTON – The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) does not allow employers to require coronavirus antibody testing before allowing workers to return to the workplace, the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) said in a recent update to its technical guidance for employers and workers.

“Please note that an antibody test is different from a test to determine if someone has an active case of COVID-19 (i.e., a viral test),” the agency said. “The EEOC has already stated that COVID-19 viral tests may be permissible under the ADA.”

Interim guidelines from the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state that antibody test results should not be used to make decisions about employees returning to the workplace. The EEOC said that, under the ADA, an antibody test constitutes a medical examination. The ADA requires that any mandatory medical test of employees be “job related and consistent with business necessity.” Coronavirus antibody tests currently do not meet this standard, EEOC said.

However, employers may:

  • ask employees if they are experiencing symptoms of the coronavirus;
  • measure employees’ body temperature;
  • choose to administer COVID-19 testing before employees enter the workplace to determine if they have the virus; and
  • require a doctor’s note before an employee is permitted to return to work.