Employers can't require COVID-19 antibody tests, EEOC says

Businesses can still require viral test to see if workers are actively infected.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission made it clear that employers can't force workers to take COVID-19 antibody tests, as businesses begin grappling with how to safely reopen amid the pandemic.

The federal group that enforces anti-discrimination laws said in a new post on Wednesday, however, that business leaders can require workers to take a viral test to determine whether they are actively infected.

"An antibody test constitutes a medical examination under the ADA," the commission wrote, referring to the Americans with Disability Act, noting that currently antibody tests do not meet the ADA's "job related and consistent with business necessity" standards for employee medical examinations.

The commission also cited the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Interim Guidelines, which state that antibody test results "should not be used to make decisions about returning to persons to the workplace."

"The EEOC will continue to closely monitor CDC's recommendations, and could update this discussion in response to changes in CDC's recommendations," the group said.