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Employers Could Mandate Heath Checks As Businesses Open, Attorney Says

CHICAGO (CBS)-- CBS 2 is looking into the legal do's and don'ts of returning to work in the wake of COVID-19 as businesses gradually begin to reopen in Illinois.

CBS 2's Audrina Bigos is Working For Chicago and finding resources to help you navigate the changing job market. She spoke to an employment and labor attorney Jeremy Glenn about legal issues and questions surrounding health checks that employers may start mandating for workers.

Temperature checks and self screening for symptoms before entering your workplace could be the new normal.

"Companies are recommended that they ask employees to self-certify that they don't have COVID-19 symptoms and they don't have a temperate of 100.4 degrees or higher everyday before coming to work, so employees should expect that will be part of the normal routine," Glenn said.

Employers have to make sure they keep the information confidential just like any other medical record.

Glenn, with Cozen O'Connor, said some companies are going to require proof of a negative COVID-19 test before an employee can return to work.

But daily self-screening, temperature checks and face masks will be more widely used.

"Some companies may require COVID-19 testing or even anti-body testing, but the law is still mixed on this because there's not 100% reliability of the test that are available," Glenn said.

At this point, Glenn said he's cautioning companies against those tests.

A big question is, can you refuse to go back to work if you don't feel safe? Whether that's because of transportation concerns or social distancing concerns, Glen said this could pose an issue.

"If their employers take reasonable steps to protect them in the workplace, a refusal to return to work could cause them to lose their unemployment insurance benefits," he said.

Glenn also said current employees are protected under the City of Chicago's new Anti-Retaliation Ordinance. It says if you have to stay home due to a doctor's order to care for yourself or a family member, your employers could not fire you, demote you or turn your job over to someone else.

But if you are applying for a new job, it's a different story.

"Employees can be asked if they've had COVID-19 or have COVID-19 symptoms, employers are allowed to ask that question and use it as a reason to hire or not hire," Glenn said.

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