Q&A - can we take employees’ temperatures?

Q. A raised temperature is one of the symptoms of coronavirus. Can we take employees’ temperatures before they enter our workplace to protect other staff?

A. Whilst you may gather coronavirus-related health information from your employees, demanding to take their temperature is likely to be unlawful. When gathering health information, you should only request what’s proportionate and necessary. Also, insisting on taking someone’s temperature could also amount to an assault. However, there’s nothing to stop you asking employees to take their own temperature before attending your workplace. They should stay away if their temperature is above 37.8°C and seek medical advice. Where an individual has or is suspected of having coronavirus you may disclose this information to other staff but steps should be taken to protect the identity of the individual. Don’t name them personally (although it’s quite possible in smaller workplaces that colleagues will work it out).

Don’t insist on taking an employee’s temperature before they enter your workplace as it’s likely to be unlawful. You can ask them to take their own temperature before they attend your workplace. Anyone who has a temperature above 37.8°C should not attend work.

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