Can an employer take an employee’s temperature before they start work?

Generally, no, an employer cannot take an employee’s temperature as it is considered a medical exam.

However, due to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, effective March 2020, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and California Civil Rights Department (formerly known as the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing or DFEH) are permitting employers to take employees’ temperatures if specifically related to COVID-19. Employers should carefully consider hygiene and social distancing precautions for any temperature-taking program.

Employers should also bear in mind that taking an employee’s temperature is subject to the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) confidentiality requirements.

Read the Civil Rights Department Employment Information on COVID-19.