Can employers force Covid tests before company Christmas celebrations?

Can employers force Covid tests before company Christmas celebrations? Credit: Pixabay

Can employers force employees into taking Covid tests before company Christmas celebrations?

With Covid cases rising again, can employers force employees into taking Covid tests to attend their company Christmas celebrations?

Health authorities are rushing to take measures to stop the new wave of coronavirus marked by the recent irruption of the new omicron variant, classified as “of concern” by the WHO and “of greater impact on health” by the Ministry of Health.

More and more Communities have received legal support to require the covid passport to access restaurants, gyms, theatres, residences and hospitals. Such is the case in the Basque Country, Galicia, Navarra, Aragon, Catalonia, the Valencian Community, the Balearic Islands and Murcia.

But, can companies force employees to take a Covid test to go to Christmas lunch or dinner?

Labour lawyer Pere Vidal Lopez firmly affirms that “with current regulations, they cannot force you” to take a diagnostic test for active coronavirus infection (antigens or PCR) or to get vaccinated.

Vidal Lopez says: “It would be discriminatory to say to those who have not been vaccinated or do not take the test that they cannot go to dinner, according to current regulations.”

The professor at the Open University of Catalonia (UOC) differentiates by Communities in which the Covid certificate is required and in which it is not. For example, in Catalonia, where the Justice has supported its demand to access restaurants, gyms and residences, employees who refuse to take a test or get vaccinated could find themselves denied access at the entrance of the restaurant where the meeting is held.

“The company needs to know who will come (and can access) to book based on the number of attendees and not incur unnecessary expenses. However, it cannot force its workers to be vaccinated or to undergo diagnostic tests against their will,” says Vidal Lopez.

In Communities where (for now) the Covid certificate is not required to access restaurants, such as the Community of Madrid, this problem would not occur.

With regards to those who could attend the Christmas lunch or dinner of their companies without taking a test beforehand, Vidal Lopez refers at all times to healthy people without symptoms of Covid.

People who have symptoms or have been in contact with people who have tested positive must isolate themselves and contact the health services.

He recalls that the data relating to the health of the workforce is confidential and “constitutes a special category that has reinforced protection.”

These are “specially protected data” that cannot be published and whose retention time would only be the day the test is performed. In addition, they could only be used for the purpose of organising the event, explains the lawyer.


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Written by

Laura Kemp

Originally from UK, Laura is based in Axarquia and is a writer for the Euro Weekly News covering news and features. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

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