As dental practices implement new safety protocols in their daily operations to help curb the spread of the coronavirus, practice owners should be mindful that employers are prohibited from requiring employees to take a COVID-19 antibody test before returning to work. Updated guidance from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission clarifies this requirement.
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, an antibody test constitutes a medical examination and does not meet the “job-related and consistent with business necessity” standard; therefore, employers are not allowed to require antibody testing before permitting employees to reenter the workplace.
The COVID-19 antibody test, also known as a serology test, screens a person’s blood for antibodies, which the body would have made if it fought the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. The antibody test does not check for the virus itself — it’s only looking to see if a person’s immune system has responded to the infection.
The EEOC also notes that an antibody test differs from a viral test, which determines if someone has an active case of COVID-19. Viral tests are permissible under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Find more COVID-19-related employment news and information in the COVID-19 Information Center.