Mandatory COVID-19 Testing:
CCSO has received many inquiries regarding CDCR’s mandatory testing of all staff at institutions. CDCR’s Office of Labor Relations (OLR) provided CCSO with information about the testing, which is mandated by a court order. The Department must complete the testing by July 16, 2020. Additionally, the Department is working with the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) on the recommended type of retesting and frequency. The requirements surrounding retesting, serial testing, and surveillance testing is evolving as well as the plan, and more information will be forthcoming.
CCSO inquired about testing with a personal physician and was told that CDCR first needs a baseline in their system. Thereafter, regular testing will be done per CDPH guidelines and the court order to track positives and negatives. If staff want to use their own health care provider, OLR recommend they reach out to the Return To Work Coordinator to see if that request can be accommodated.
CCSO discussed CDCR’s ability to direct the mandatory testing with our General Counsel. Below is Mr. Thompson’s opinion:
“Short answer – the EEOC has determined that requiring a COVID-19 test is permissible if it is job related and consistent with business necessity. In reaching this conclusion it evaluates ADA regulations on medical testing and whether or not the usual protections of the ADA can be exempted due to a “direct threat”. COVID-19 is classified as a direct threat and certainly inside of a correctional institution knowing that your employees are not a threat to themselves, their co-workers, or the prison population would be a qualifying business necessity. Thus, mandatory testing IS PERMISSIBLE.
Further, CDCR’s own guidelines state that failure to comply may result in progressive discipline so I would advise all employees that they should comply with testing.”
CCSO strongly recommends that all members abide by the court order and complete the mandatory testing. We will continue to provide updates as they are received. Stay safe and healthy!