Fast Food Giants Trial Employee Temperature Checks

McDonald’s and Domino’s Pizza are enforcing temperature checks before each shift to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
May 27, 2020

Fast food giants McDonald’s and Domino’s Pizza are taking unprecedented steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace. In a somewhat controversial move, the food retail stores are mandating temperature checks for employees before starting work. It’s the first time such measures have been implemented in Australia, however temperature checks have been used for over a month now at fast food outlets around the world including Taco Bell and KFC in the US.

McDonald’s are trialling the approach in certain outlets in Victoria, whereas Domino’s are rolling out the checks nationally along with other measures such as enhanced hygiene practices, social distancing and increased use of hand sanitiser. The temperature checks are conducted by managers using a non-invasive infrared thermometer and employees with a temperature that indicates a fever are asked to return home and contact a doctor.

The move has raised some concerns with unions saying that the checks are a gross invasion of privacy and that uncalibrated thermometers are being used by untrained operators. Others are worried that such checks are not a fool-proof way of detecting COVID-19 as not all infected people have a high fever as a symptom - indeed, many infected people may not have any symptoms at all.

Initial feedback from legal advisors indicate that the move is not illegal given that the procedure is non-invasive and temperatures are not being recorded or stored. The precedent for temperature checking has recently been set in multiple countries around the world including the US, Canada, and various countries in Asia and Europe.

The coronavirus recently caused the closure of twelve McDonald’s stores across Victoria after a coronavirus cluster was identified amongst employees and a delivery driver. The closure of the stores prompted the Victorian government to advise McDonald’s employees to take their own temperature before they leave home if they are unsure whether they are unwell.