Employee Screening

Back to Work Employee Screening: How to Protect Your Business

As more businesses are allowed to open their doors, employers find themselves facing a new challenge: employee screening. If you’re like most employers, you feel more protective of your company than ever before. Your business has held its ground through the challenging early days of the COVID pandemic. Now that your team is returning to work, you can’t afford to risk a workplace outbreak or a bad hire. And yet, the employee screening waters seem especially murky right now. You know your ADA limitations for health screening, but how do the rules change in a pandemic? And how do you screen prospective employees while maintaining social distancing protocol?

While you should turn to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for advice as the situation develops, we can offer a few insights to get you started.

 

COVID-19 Employee Screening: What You Can and Can’t Do

Before we dive into these tips for the health aspect of employee screening, please note:

The following is meant as a general overview. Before you establish or enact any new screening policies, seek counsel. As the status of the pandemic evolves, so do the standards set forth by the EEOC.

Having said that, here’s a glance at COVID-19 employee screening allowances as they currently stand.

 

New Hires or Returning Employees

Many employers feel overwhelmed by the burden of minimizing the risk of exposure for both their staff and their guests. For business owners, the looming question is:

How vigilant am I allowed to be when it comes to screening employees for COVID-19?

As you reopen the workplace and welcome new hires or prospective employees, you are permitted to:

  • Measure body temperature before allowing staff into the facility
  • Administer antibody testing
  • Ask if an employee or new hire is experiencing specific COVID symptoms if that employee has reported feeling ill

However, you can only do these things after:

  • Directing furloughed employees to return to work
  • Extending a conditional offer of employment to a prospective hire

In other words, you cannot test or question a candidate about their health as part of the application process. You can only conduct a COVID employee screening for an individual you intend to bring on board.

You must also enact the same policy for all employees under the same job classification.

Please note that all records related to employee health screening must remain completely confidential.

 

Existing Employees

Once you’re back in business, how do you protect your staff and customers on a regular basis?

As an employer, you are currently permitted to:

  • Measure body temperature before allowing staff into the facility
  • Ask if an employee is experiencing COVID symptoms before they begin their shift
  • Administer antibody testing
  • Ask if an employee or new hire is experiencing specific COVID symptoms if that employee has reported feeling ill or calls in sick

Whatever information you collect or record must remain confidential. And you must use the same procedures for all employees in the same job classification.

The frequency of employee screening is largely up to you and should depend in part on the unique risks of your workplace.

Healthcare professionals, for example, should be monitored closely. The CDC provides a comprehensive guide for evaluating the risks of exposure and suggested procedures for individuals in the healthcare field.

Once again, the policies surrounding health-related employee screenings will evolve as the pandemic evolves. Please base your own procedures on the advice of a legal professional.

 

Employee Background Checks

While the ongoing pandemic has many employers worried about COVID-19 screening, that’s not the only measure you must take to protect your business.

As always, employee background screening is essential for preventing theft, high turnover, and other costly incidents. You’ve worked hard to keep your business alive in a struggling economy. Thorough background checks can protect you from further setbacks.

We recommend using advanced employee screening technology, especially if you need to bring in several employees quickly.

Our screening software integrates with the most popular applicant tracking systems so you can order thousands of background checks in a few clicks.

As for establishing hiring conditions that are safe for both you and applicants, consider mobile background checks.

 

Remote Employee Screening

Mobile background checks allow you to screen applicants without in-person contact.

For example, PeopleG2’s SwiftHire Mobile Background Checks automatically prompt the candidate to initiate their employee screening right from their mobile device.

The software generates the compliance questions relevant to the applicant’s place of residence. Then, your prospective hire receives updates on the status of their background check. They also have access to the final report and can contact us directly if they feel there’s an error.

As a result, your HR manager can run background checks:

  • Without an in-person encounter with the applicant
  • Without exchanging documents
  • Without requiring the candidate to put themselves at risk by using public equipment to print and scan

As an added benefit, with all those tedious tasks out of the way, the pre-employment screening and hiring process move much faster.

We know the last few months have been challenging for all businesses. Our greatest hope is to see you thrive and move forward with confidence. We’re here to provide comprehensive employee screening services and supplies for ensuring a safe work environment.

If there’s anything else we can do to help, please let us know.