Can I Ask An Employee if They Have Family Who Has COVID-19?
The simple answer is “no”. The Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act (GINA) prohibits employers from asking employees medical questions about family members, and it is still in force. GINA does not prohibit employers from asking employees whether they’ve had contact with anyone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or may have symptoms associated with the disease. The CDC also recently issued guidance that explained, from a public health perspective, that only asking an employee about their contact with family members would unnecessarily limit the information obtained about the employee’s potential exposure to COVID-19. So, employers should not only ask about family but about everyone. In fact, they should remove the word “family” from their attestation. Asking this question shows due diligence, best practice, and care for other employees.
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