Information for Employers and Employees

Although the government only recommends Covid testing, a minority of employers are choosing to make this a condition of attending the workplace.

Employers choosing to impose a mandatory testing programme should consider the following:

Legal Liability

As Covid testing is only a recommendation, the government provides no protection from liability should employers implement a testing programme. Any subsequent claims resulting from such a programme would be borne solely by the employer.

Compliance with General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR)

Medical test results are health data and as such are classed as ‘special category data’ which must be used and stored in accordance with the GDPR. This would involve carrying out a full Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA).

A DPIA must:

    • Describe the nature, scope, context and purposes of the processing
    • Assess necessity, proportionality and compliance measures
    • Identify and assess risks to individuals
    • Identify any additional measures to mitigate those risks
    • Consider the legitimate interests of data subjects and other persons concerned. 

Coerced Consent

Respect for patients’ autonomy is expressed in consent law; to impose care or treatment on people without respecting their wishes and right to self-determination is not only unethical, but illegal.

Therefore, consent to diagnostic or therapeutic interventions must be freely given without pressure or undue influence, and employers should bear in mind the following:

  • Enforcing Covid testing as a condition of employment clearly places an employer in violation of consent law.
  • “Strongly recommending” that employees be tested is also classed as coercive.
  • Penalties or different treatment arising from a lack of consent also presents difficulties from an informed consent perspective.


Template Grievance Letter to Employers re Mandatory Testing

If your employer is implementing Covid testing as part of your conditions of employment, you can download and send them this formal grievance letter. All you need to do is fill in the relevant parts with your details.