CDC Provides Guidance on Consent and Disclosures for Workplace COVID-19 Testing
February 23, 2021
Informed Consent Requires Disclosure, Understanding and Free Choice
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued guidance on the elements of consent and disclosures necessary to support employee decision-making when employers incorporate workplace COVID-19 testing.
Differences in position and authority (such as workplace hierarchies), as well as employment status in nonstandard working arrangements (e.g., temporary help, contract help or part-time employment) can affect an employee’s ability to make free decisions. This guidance suggests measures employers can take when developing a testing program.
To fully support employee decision-making and consent, these measures should include:
- Safeguarding employees’ privacy and confidentiality;
- Providing information that is complete and understandable on how the employer’s testing program may impact employees’ lives;
- Explaining any parts of the testing program an employee would consider important when deciding to participate;
- Providing information about the testing program in the employee’s preferred language using nontechnical terms;
- Encouraging supervisors and co-workers to avoid pressuring employees to participate in the testing; and
- Encouraging and answering questions during the consent process.
Employers should follow these measures to create a supportive environment when employees need to make decisions about workplace-based testing.
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