California Employment Law Update

Category Archives: COVID-19

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Governor Newsom Signs A Slew of New Employment Laws for 2022

As the 2021 legislative season came to a close, Governor Gavin Newsom signed numerous bills into law. From arbitration to workplace safety, these laws will impact employers across the state.  We have summarized the most important ones for you here: Arbitration Arbitration fees will now need to be paid upon receipt of invoice unless the … Continue Reading

Los Angeles City Council Approves Sweeping Vaccine Ordinance for Indoor Establishments

Following New York City and San Francisco, Los Angeles is the latest city to require proof of vaccination for individuals entering indoor portions of establishments.  This ordinance, which the Los Angeles City Council approved in an 11-to-2 vote, takes effect November 4, 2021.  However, beginning October 21, 2021, the ordinance requires businesses and City facilities … Continue Reading

California Encourages Mandating Employee COVID-19 Vaccinations

Due to the recent increase in COVID-19 cases, California officials are recommending that private employers require their employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or face regular testing.  In an article in the Sacramento Business Journal, Governor Gavin Newsom’s senior advisor and director of the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development, Dee Dee Myers, called … Continue Reading

California Safety Board Narrows Emergency Temporary Standards (Effective Immediately)

As we previously reported (here), Cal/OSHA’s Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board (“OSHSB”) held a series of special meetings to revise its controversial Emergency Temporary Standards (“ETS”) related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.  And, on June 17, 2021, OSHSB approved updated ETS language that more closely aligns California’s workplace safety requirements with recommendations from the … Continue Reading

California Revokes Controversial Masking Rules

As we previously reported (here), on June 3, 2021, California’s Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board (“OSHSB”) approved some controversial revisions to its Emergency Temporary Standards (“ETS”) related to COVID-19.  Among other highly-contested provisions, the updated ETS would have required even fully-vaccinated individuals to don masks indoors unless everyone in a room was fully-vaccinated.  However, … Continue Reading

California Workers Can’t Ditch Masks Just Yet

In a closely-watched vote, yesterday (June 3, 2021), California’s Occupational Safety & Health Standards Board  approved controversial amendments to the Emergency Temporary Standards (“ETS”) related to COVID-19.  If approved by the Office of Administrative Law within the 10 day review period, the new ETS (available here) will require (among many other things) most California workers … Continue Reading

Alleged Employer Violation of a Local Ordinance Cannot Support a Wrongful Discharge Claim

The California Court of Appeal has determined that a wrongful discharge claim cannot be based upon an alleged violation of a municipal ordinance.  Bruni v. The Edward Thomas Hospitality Corporation. The California Supreme Court has previously ruled that wrongful termination claims must be based upon a violation of a “fundamental public policy.”  In the years … Continue Reading

Big Brother Comes to Santa Clara County with Latest COVID-19 Order

On May 18, 2021, Santa Clara County issued a new Order of the Health Officer (the “Order”) that took effect on May 19th.  Of particular note, the Order imposes two new obligations:  First, it mandates that employers require all personnel to immediately alert their employer if they test positive for COVID-19 and were present in … Continue Reading

Opening Up To the New Normal

With COVID-19 cases falling and vaccination rates increasing, the County of Los Angeles is updating guidance for reopening the economy. Effective Monday, April 5, 2021, Los Angeles County non-essential office-based businesses can now reopen indoors, at 50% capacity, per the new County of Los Angeles Department of Public Health Order of the Health Officer. This … Continue Reading

One More for Good Measure: Another Round of Mandatory Vaccination Guidelines

The California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) recently updated its Guide to COVID-19 Related Frequently Asked Questions to include wage and hour issues related to employer-mandated COVID-19 tests or vaccinations.  According to this latest guidance, if an employer requires employees to obtain a COVID-19 test or vaccination, the employer must pay “for the time it takes for … Continue Reading

Statewide Supplemental Paid COVID-19 Sick Leave Resuscitated, Expanded, and Retroactive Back to January 1, 2021

On Thursday, March 18, the California Legislature passed Senate Bill 95 (“SB 95”) which will provide statewide supplemental paid COVID-19 sick leave, retroactively to January 1, 2021. Governor Newsom signed SB 95 on Friday, March 19. California’s previous supplemental paid COVID-19 sick leave (covered here) expired on December 31, 2020. Since then, California employers have … Continue Reading

You Get a Shot, and You Get a Shot! California Paves the Way for Mandatory Vaccination Policies

Weeks after the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) weighed in, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (“DFEH”) recently released updated COVID-19 employment FAQs addressing the permissibility of employer-mandated COVID-19 vaccination policies. Taking a page from the EEOC’s January 2021 guidance, the DFEH indicated that employers may require employees to receive an FDA emergency use … Continue Reading

Keeping it Local to Extend COVID-19 Emergency Paid Sick Leave Ordinances

California’s supplemental paid COVID-19 sick leave (covered here) expired on December 31, 2020. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) also expired on December 31, 2020. Nevertheless, many local jurisdictions have extended emergency paid sick leave to employees affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. An employee may be entitled to use the leave for a variety … Continue Reading

Chamber of Commerce Urges California to Ease Restrictions on Employers

  The California Chamber of Commerce and nearly 200 other organizations joined in a January 13 letter to the Governor and the leadership of the state Senate and Assembly, urging them to stave off a growing exodus of businesses by loosening the regulatory yoke on California employers. In the letter, the Chamber encouraged that the Governor “take … Continue Reading

In Sickness and In Health – Court Rejects Spouse’s COVID Claim Against Employer

Last week, a California federal judge dismissed with leave to amend a claim made against a Nevada company by the spouse of an employee who contracted COVID-19, allegedly at his workplace, and later transmitted the disease to her.  In its order, the court dismissed the spouse’s claims as preempted by “the exclusive remedy provisions of … Continue Reading

Nike “Just Does It” – Retail Employees Will Wear Transparent Masks

Last summer, Nike began requiring its retail employees to wear masks to combat the spread of COVID-19. A few weeks later, Cali Bunn entered one of its San Diego-area stores to purchase some shoes. Ms. Bunn is deaf and, like other deaf and hearing-impaired customers, relies on her ability to read other’s lips to communicate. … Continue Reading

Federal Guidance on Mandating Employee COVID-19 Vaccinations

To date, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) has not issued relevant guidance regarding mandatory COVID-19 vaccination programs. Despite the current lack of California-specific information, on December 16, 2020, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) updated its COVID-19-related guidance, “What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, … Continue Reading

No Reservations! A Beverly Hills Dining Institution Provides a Reminder to Adhere to Health Officer Orders

As recently reported by the Los Angeles Times, People, and a slew of other national and local media outlets, famed Beverly Hills restaurant, La Scala, recently faced significant public backlash after sending out invitations to a Prohibition-themed, indoor New Year’s Eve celebration.  The invitation, which was distributed to select customers, read: “We are considering taking … Continue Reading

As COVID-19 Cases Overwhelm the Golden State, Cal/OSHA Imposes More Burdens on Employers

California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health, better known as “Cal/OSHA,” recently issued new emergency temporary standards to protect workers from COVID-19 (the “Emergency Temporary Standards”), which were approved by the Office of Administrative Law earlier this week.  The Emergency Temporary Standards, which are now in effect, apply to virtually all California employers, employees, and … Continue Reading

State-by-State Real-Time Updates on Employment and Privacy-Related Rules, Regulations, Orders and Guidance

As jurisdictions continue to respond to COVID-19 with new rules, regulations, orders and guidance, employers must ensure that they adhere to these requirements as they manage business operations. To assist multi-state employers as they navigate these developments, we have created ProTrack COVID-19, a state and local tracker tool. Our proprietary tracker allows employers to search … Continue Reading

Spread The Word: California Enacts COVID-19 Exposure Notification Law

Late last week, Gov. Newsom signed AB 685 into law which, among other things, adds section 6409.6 (“Section 6409.6”) to the Labor Code.  The new statute, which takes effect January 1, 2021, requires that employers notify employees and, in some instances, public health officials about COVID-19 exposures at work. Specifically, Section 6409.6 requires that employers … Continue Reading

California’s New Supplemental Paid COVID-19 Sick Leave, Effective September 19, 2020

On September 9, 2020, Governor Newsom signed Assembly Bill 1867 (“AB 1867”), which is intended to fill gaps left by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”). The new law requires that private employers with 500 or more employees in the United States provide eligible (non-food sector) employees with up to 80 hours of supplemental … Continue Reading

COVID Alert: California Releases “Employer Playbook for a Safe Reopening”

California Governor Gavin Newsom has released a 32-page “Employer Playbook” that’s designed to help employers “plan and prepare for reopening their business and to support a safe, clean environment for workers and customers.” The Playbook contains general guidance applicable to all industries, such as how to manage an outbreak, record cases, and enforce mask requirements. … Continue Reading

Even a Worldwide Pandemic Is No Excuse For Blowing A Class Certification Deadline!

For years, federal courts in California have been inundated with wage and hour class actions.  Because these cases often clogged district court dockets for months (and, sometimes, even years) on end, the Central District of California issued the former Local Rule 23-3, which set a 90-day deadline to file a motion for class certification from … Continue Reading
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