By Crystal Stevens McElrath , Swift Currie McGhee & Hiers , LLP
I n March of 2020 , I published a “ Client Alert ” summarizing recent federal guidance as to how employers could and should respond to the COVID-19 crisis . At the time , OSHA had recently recommended employers do not require a doctor ’ s note from employees who missed work due to respiratory symptoms , anticipating doctor ’ s offices would not be equipped to hand the volume of these requests . Employers were prohibited from taking employees ’ temperatures and were required to permit healthy employees to wear masks ( although employees could be reminded that other preventive measures were more effective than masks ). One week later , the Center for Disease Control ( CDC ) advised that employers COULD take their employees ’ temperature in this global health pandemic . It wasn ’ t much later that the CDC began encouraging all Americans to wear masks both in and outside of the workplace . What a difference a year makes .
We have seen masks recommendations come and go . Indeed , I revised a draft of this article to reflect CDC ’ s July 27 , 2021 , updated recommendations that fully vaccinated individuals resume wearing masks indoor .
Then , there ’ s the vaccines . OSHA recommended that employers encourage or incentivize vaccination , but many employers were fearful of soliciting information as to whether employees are vaccinated and / or why they are not vaccinated . It now seems clear that an employer may poll its employees to determine vaccination status and may require proof of vaccination by asking employees for a copy of their vaccination records . These are not considered