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The courts to date have generally held that employers are not entitled to force employees to undergo specific medical tests or procedures. This is because these kinds of requirements have been found to unfairly interfere with an individual’s rights to privacy and control over their own health.

Having said this, there has been case law (in both unionized and non-unionized workplaces) which has indicated that employers may be able to require employees to take specific medical procedures/tests if it can be demonstrated that there is a sufficiently serious health issue and that the requirement will meaningfully assist with reducing such a risk.

In the case of COVID-19, it is unclear, for example, whether a simple check of an employee’s temperature will help to reduce the risk to the public and/or workplace. This is because COVID-19 does not always result in expected symptoms and there can be a significant lag between when people contract the virus and when they become symptomatic.

It is accordingly unclear whether there is sufficient evidence to demonstrate that any one specific action will contribute meaningfully to a safer workplace. Having said this, as more evidence is revealed, employers may be in a better position to demonstrate that requiring a medical procedure is reasonable on balance to maintain the safety of the workplace.

If you have any questions relating to employment and health and safety matters or if you have questions related to leaves of absence, lay-offs, terminations of employment or otherwise, please contact Toronto employment lawyers, Sultan Lawyers at 416-214-5111 or via email at khayward@sultanlawyers.com.

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