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.

About the author, Rhamy

Rhamy grew up watching and working with his mother and grandmother in the senior insurance market. This familiarity with the struggles faced by people trying to navigate the incredibly complicated and heavily regulated healthcare market led him to start Poplar Financial while working on his degree at the University of Memphis. After completing his MBA and Bachelors in Finance and Economics, Rhamy guided Poplar Financial through the disruptive opportunity that is the Affordable Care Act. Since then Poplar Financial has received numerous awards from major insurance carriers and has completed its fourth year in a row of doubling in size. Now his team focuses on the processes around human resources and specializes in providing companies with between 20 and 1000 employees with the payroll, benefits, and HR needs.

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