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Can an employer require a Temperature check?

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  • May 2nd, 2020 5:29 pm
[OP]
Deal Addict
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Nov 3, 2006
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Pluto

Can an employer require a Temperature check?

Hey RFD!

Quick question.. can an employer require a temperature check before being allowed on the premise of your place of employment? I'm just wondering what the legal ramifications; if any, are. Anyone have any direct links? Thanks in advance.

Edit: for a job dealing with making and or packing food.

Edit 2: for what it's worth, I don't personally care. There will be employees that do though and it's my job to have an answer for their concerns. I'm looking for general information, knowledge, experience that people have on here.
Last edited by Lancer2004 on May 1st, 2020 1:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
15 replies
Deal Addict
Mar 8, 2007
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Sure they can, its private property, they can do almost anything they want to allow access to it. They can amend it into your contract and have you sign it if it doesn't already carry a clause like 'perform other duties' etc.

Do you feel it trumps your privacy in some way?

For what it's worth my employer has a temperature camera setup now at the entrance, anyone who enters gets checked.
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Deal Addict
Oct 24, 2010
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Ottawa
Without being a lawyer, I think the common law precedent for something like this would be rooted in the Suncor random drug testing case that wound itself through the courts from 2012 to 2019:

https://osg.ca/legal-review-suncors-ran ... ng-policy/

I've had discussions about this with my wife, who is in HR and used to work in O&G, and the interpretation of that Supreme Court decision from the case above is generally that random drug testing can only occur of (a) there is a serious concern that requires testing (i.e. frequent use, safety incidents, etc); and (b) the random drug testing will undoubtedly help curb the problem.

Again, not being a lawyer or qualified to give legal advice, I think the question has to be whether COVID-19 in the workplace is considered enough of a risk to the life of those in said workplace, and whether temperature testing will undoubtedly eliminate or seriously curb that risk.

My understanding is that the general advice right now is that the tests wouldn't pass muster and the privacy invasion associated with temperature testing is not legally justified.
[OP]
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Nov 3, 2006
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Pluto
I phone the Ministry of health Ontario and asked some generalized questions and thought I'd share incase anyone else is interested to know:

Employers can take temperatures. It's considered to be in the health and safety of the employees (as well as the business). There's a few caveats though.
* Unions and/or Health and Safety committees should discuss and agree to it. They said it's better to have some formal agreement about it. There's variables that should be discussed like what happens when an employee is deemed sick? (Can they take a sick day? Vacation day? Weeks holidays? Etc). They also said your local health unit can give more information on what is deemed "a sick temperature", because some people run naturally warmer.
Deal Addict
Oct 24, 2010
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Just because the Ministry believes that it's allowed doesn't mean the judicial system would agree.
Deal Guru
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Sep 1, 2005
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I'd like to re-phrase or ask that you/ppl consider the question from the other perspective. If you were the employer....if this were your company, do you think you'd be considered reasonable to ask for temperature check. If an employee decided to question your rules, no matter how reasonable they are or aren't....

Sometimes judiciaries should not be the rule makers/setters IMO.
We're all bozos on the bus until we find a way to express ourselves...

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Deal Fanatic
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May 11, 2009
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My employer does this, but you are asked for consent. If you say no you are allowed on anyway, provided you respond you don't have symptoms.
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Deal Guru
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Mar 31, 2008
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Dynatos wrote: Just because the Ministry believes that it's allowed doesn't mean the judicial system would agree.
Given the random drug test ruling being ok, COVID-19 is an even bigger, more widespread threat to the workplace. So I garner it would be allowed by the judicial system .
Deal Expert
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Mar 18, 2005
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Seems like such an odd hill to die on.
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Oct 24, 2010
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I personally wouldn't fight it, but I know people (unions) who would on the grounds of an invasion of privacy. As with anything, from the company perspective it all comes down to assessing the legal risk, mitigating what they can, and deciding what risk they are willing to accept.
Deal Addict
Apr 21, 2014
2245 posts
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Alberta
Lancer2004 wrote: Hey RFD!

Quick question.. can an employer require a temperature check before being allowed on the premise of your place of employment? I'm just wondering what the legal ramifications; if any, are. Anyone have any direct links? Thanks in advance.

Edit: for a job dealing with making and or packing food.

Edit 2: for what it's worth, I don't personally care. There will be employees that do though and it's my job to have an answer for their concerns. I'm looking for general information, knowledge, experience that people have on here.
I don’t see why not. It’s not infringing on anyone’s rights. It’s about safety. They can force you to wear certain Ppe, they can also force you to wash your hands after you go to the bathroom. It’s for everybody’s safety (including yours). Company can do what they want in this case
Deal Guru
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Mar 31, 2008
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OP, with this

Two more staff members at emergency daycare in Yorkville test positive for COVID-19
https://www.cp24.com/news/two-more-staf ... -1.4921275
Officials previously confirmed that four staff members and an eight-month-old child at the child care centre tested positive for the virus.

Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa told reporters that two more employees have subsequently tested positive for the disease, bringing the total number of infected staff to six.
What do you think? Can you think a bit deeper into this and come up with a suggestion if businesses should be allowed?
Deal Addict
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Aug 9, 2010
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What’s the argument for checking temperatures being an invasion of privacy? I don’t buy it personally but I’d like to understand the rationale behind that thinking.

To me, it doesn’t seem like checking your temperature provides personally identifying information or is invasive in the way that scanning emails or tracking browsing history is.

Hell, I’d feel safer knowing people who scan above normal are turned away and sent home in these times, it’s safer for everybody.
[OP]
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Nov 3, 2006
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Pluto
I thought I made myself clear enough in the original post but I'll state it again since I have a few downvotes and I think some people are generally getting the wrong impression, I'm not opposed to this. I really don't care either way. I am a Rep and am looking to gather as much information as possible (links, opinions, places to call).

Just like with anything, there will be some employees that will want to fight this (or at minimum have questions). I was just looking to make sure I have any answers I can provide them. Since making the post I made some phone calls and got some answers that i put in the OP. Really the only concern for me is that it's done correctly and in a way that there's no risk to transmit a virus if someone is sick (proper PPE and proper tools is the solution to this)
Deal Guru
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Mar 23, 2008
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Lancer2004 wrote: I thought I made myself clear enough in the original post but I'll state it again since I have a few downvotes and I think some people are generally getting the wrong impression, I'm not opposed to this. I really don't care either way. I am a Rep and am looking to gather as much information as possible (links, opinions, places to call).

Just like with anything, there will be some employees that will want to fight this (or at minimum have questions). I was just looking to make sure I have any answers I can provide them. Since making the post I made some phone calls and got some answers that i put in the OP. Really the only concern for me is that it's done correctly and in a way that there's no risk to transmit a virus if someone is sick (proper PPE and proper tools is the solution to this)
If it’s your job to have answers for your peeps, my advice is to get proper legal advice and not advice from anonymous users on a coupon clipping website...

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