The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued guidance on the elements of consent and disclosures necessary to support employee decision-making when employers incorporate workplace COVID-19 testing.
Differences in position and authority (such as workplace hierarchies), as well as employment status in nonstandard working arrangements (e.g., temporary help, contract help or part-time employment) can affect an employee’s ability to make free decisions. This guidance suggests measures employers can take when developing a testing program.
To fully support employee decision-making and consent, these measures
- Safeguarding employees’ privacy and confidentiality;
- Providing information that is complete and understandable on how the employer’s testing program may impact employees’ lives;
- Explaining any parts of the testing program an employee would consider important when deciding to participate;
- Providing information about the testing program in the employee’s preferred language using nontechnical terms; Encouraging supervisors and co-workers to avoid pressuring
employees to participate in the testing; and
- Encouraging and answering questions during the consent process.
- CDC guidance states that workplace testing should not be conducted without the employee’s informed consent.
- Informed consent requires disclosure, understanding and free choice.
- COVID-19 testing may be incorporated as part of a comprehensive approach to reducing transmission in nonhealth-care workplaces.