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New CDC Guidelines for Exposed Employees Returning to Work

By Chris McCarty

In terms of additional precautions, the CDC recommends that employers implement the following: 

1) Pre-Screen: Employers should measure a potentially exposed employee’s temperature and discuss other symptoms, ideally taking a temperature before the employee ever enters an office/building. 

2) Regular Monitoring: Without a temperature or other symptoms, an employee is largely left to self-monitor under the supervision of (and in discussions with) his/her employer. 

— WARNING: If an employee becomes sick during the day, he/she must be sent home, with his/her workplace surfaces being cleaned as soon as possible. Employers are also asked to compile information on who the employee had contact with over the prior two days, and to consider those co-workers as being possibly exposed to COVID-19 under these same guidelines.

3) Wear a Mask: For at least 14 days after last being exposed to a person(s) with COVID-19, the employee should wear a face mask while at work, with the impetus being on employers (if possible) to supply such masks.  

4) Social Distance: A potentially exposed employee should maintain at least six feet of social distancing as work duties permit.

5) Clean Spaces: Lastly, employers are again encouraged to continually clean workplace areas such as offices, bathrooms, shared equipment, etc. 

At the end of the day, however, these are only recommended guidelines and minimum standards. Employers should also continue to rely on their experience and their common sense to ensure employees feel safe and valued.  Printable Flyer from the CDC available here.

Chris McCarty , a shareholder in our Knoxville office, practices in the areas of employment law, education law and civil litigation. Mr. McCarty handles matters before state and federal courts throughout Tennessee, and has argued before the Tennessee Court of Appeals. Mr. McCarty also presents on employment and education law topics. His articles on those topics have been seen in numerous publications, including HR Magazine, the Tennessee Bar Journal and the Knoxville Business Journal. Mr. McCarty is approved as a member of the American Arbitration Association’s (AAA) Panel of Employment Arbitrators.