As we should all be aware by this time, there are a wide variety of rules and regulations that govern our day-to-day co-op and condo operations while we struggle to meet the challenges posed by COVID-19.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”), the federal agency which enforces certain federal workplace anti-discrimination laws, including the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), recently provided employers with guidance to help navigate employee return-to-work issues during the COVID-19 pandemic. The laws, regulations and governmental guidance have been in flux and will continue to adapt to the developing circumstance.

As such, ARC is pleased to remind you of certain important aspects of the return to work process in the face of the coronavirus.

  • Under New York State’s requirements and recommendations for reopening, all businesses must implement mandatory daily health screenings of employees.
  • New York State requires employers to screen employees on a daily basis before employees enter the workplace by having the employee complete a questionnaire that asks, at a minimum, whether the employee has
    • knowingly been in close or in proximate contact in the past 14 days with anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or who has or had symptoms of COVID-19;
    • tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 14 days; and/or
    • experienced any symptoms of COVID-19 in the past 14 days.
  • All New York State businesses must screen employees and maintain a record that they have completed the screening each day.
  • If an employer is performing temperature checks, the employer is prohibited from keeping records of employee health data (e.g. temperature data).
  • All information collected during the screening process, including positive test results or employees’ statements indicating that they suspect they have the virus, must be kept confidential under the ADA, State and City laws
  • During this pandemic, the ADA allows employers to ask employees if they are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.
    • Employers should only ask employees about symptoms recognized by the CDC and NYSDOH.
    • The screening should be done in a confidential setting or over a confidential medium, and all information obtained as a result of the screening must be treated as a confidential medical record in compliance with the ADA.
  • If an employer is having employees fill out the survey on paper before starting their shifts on-site, NYC Health prohibits the surveys from identifying the employees by name.
  • But, New York State’s reopening guidance requires an employer to immediately notify the local health department of a positive test result in the workplace to facilitate contact tracing. As such, the employee’s name must be disclosed.

The Association of Riverdale Cooperatives & Condominiums is grateful for the guidance for this article provided by

attorney Robert Sparer of the firm, Clifton Budd & DeMaria, LLP .