Businesses have started to implement temperature checks to test their employees for a fever, which is one of the symptoms of COVID-19. Whether it is done using thermal imaging technology or a handheld temperature check device, reading temperature involves thermal data collection which is biometric information and falls under the category of sensitive personally identifiable information. Additional safeguards are mandated by federal, state, and/or local authorities to protect such information from misuse and unauthorized disclosures. At minimum businesses should ensure they have a compliant notice posted at the location where temperatures are read, consent from employees may be required, and deletion of thermal data after it is no longer needed is warranted. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) guidance on the issue directs businesses to treat temperature readings or the fact that someone has a fever as confidential information. Information that an employee was sent home because of fever should be kept confidential unless the employee consents to the disclosure.
COVID-19 TEMPERATURE CHECKS AT THE WORKPLACE: DATA PROTECTION CONSIDERATIONS