Swine flu question of the day: testing for the virus

Q If an employee has flu symptoms, can the employer insist that he or she is tested for swine flu?

Employers cannot insist that their employees are tested for swine flu. Testing an employee without his or her agreement would constitute a criminal assault and could also result in a claim for constructive unfair dismissal.

For an employer to require an employee to submit to a test for swine flu, it would need a contractual right to do so contained in either the contract of employment or a separate policy.

Even where the employer has the contractual right to require such a test, the employee must be willing to be tested, although a failure to agree in these circumstances can be treated as a disciplinary issue. The level of any disciplinary sanction should be set out in the relevant policy and should be reasonable in the circumstances of the case.

XpertHR - frequently asked questions on swine fluAll this week, Personnel Today will be bringing you highlights from XpertHR’s frequently asked questions.
Other questions answered today include:

Q Can an employer insist on its employees having a flu vaccination?
Q Should employees who are absent due to swine flu be required to get certification from their GP to confirm that they are ill?

Topics later this week, include:

  • swine flu and public transport
  • childcare
  • sick pay
  • covering for absence.

Read the previous day’s swine flu question of the day.
Read the next day’s swine flu question of the day.



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