Penn law professor says employers can require COVID-19 testing

By KYW Newsradio 1060
PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — For years, hospitals have required employees to get flu shots every year. Now with the catastrophic economic and human toll that COVID-19 has taken, will your boss require you to get the vaccine?

Employers are allowed to require testing or interventions if employees pose a direct threat to others in the workplace. Allison Hoffman, a professor of health law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, says it must be job related and consistent with business necessity.

"Requiring employees to get a COVID-19 test is permissible," Hoffman said, "because, if you can imagine, if somebody has COVID and they come into the workplace, they pose a direct threat to others.

"It's consistent with business necessity to get that kind of test. Doing  temperature checks on people, all of those things would be well within the bounds of the law."

She says there is an old legal case which would allow for a requirement that people get vaccinations for public health purposes.

"I don't think it will be the company. I think it will be the government," she said. "I think, if we get a vaccination that's good, then you'll start to see the states and localities mandating that vaccination for public health purposes."

She says what's currently not allowed is forcing an employee to get a COVID-19 antibody test, because it's not consistent with the regulations.