New Year, New Rules: 2022 Brings a Barrage of Changes to California COVID-19 Obligations for Employers

After two tumultuous years reacting to COVID-19 in the workplace, the one constant has been change. In recent months, the state of California has changed course on several workplace requirements, leaving businesses, schools and organizations scrambling to keep up. While the differences from past requirements lie in the details, the landscape is a familiar one: masks, paid sick leave and another iteration of the Cal/OSHA Emergency Temporary Standards.

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Slippery Slope Decision by California Appellate Court Allows Wrongful Death Claim from “Take Home” COVID-19 Exposure to Proceed

The California Court of Appeals has allowed an employee’s wrongful death case for her husband’s death from COVID-19 to proceed against her employer, concluding the claim was not barred by California’s Workers’ Compensation Act. The court found persuasive the trial court’s analogy to a decision permitting claims against employers for injuries to family members from “take home” exposures to asbestos.

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California Reinstates Statewide Indoor Mask Mandate in All Public Places Regardless of Vaccination Status

By Brooke Tabshouri

The California Department of Public Health (“CDPH”) has announced that beginning this Wednesday, December 15, California will reinstate its statewide indoor mask mandate for all people of all ages in all public places regardless of vaccination status.  The order is being issued in response to a spike in COVID cases in the last few weeks; cases have increased by nearly 50% since Thanksgiving. Continue reading “California Reinstates Statewide Indoor Mask Mandate in All Public Places Regardless of Vaccination Status”

California COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Expires – Now What?

California’s latest supplemental paid sick leave law, SB 95, which requires certain employers to provide paid leave to employees for qualifying COVID-19-related reasons, expires on September 30, 2021. No legislation has been passed to extend it and there are no bills on the horizon to replace it. This has left employers wondering what, if any, obligations they have if employees are absent for reasons related to COVID-19.

To read the full text of this Duane Morris Alert, please visit the firm website.

Cal/OSHA Adopts New Workplace COVID-19 Standards, Providing Relief for Vaccinated Employees

On June 17, 2021, following a dizzying series of events, the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration voted to adopt new emergency temporary standards for COVID-19, revising employer obligations designed to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace. In addition to bringing face coverings and social distancing requirements into alignment with federal guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and a recent order by the California Department of Public Health, the new standards update what is required of employers in creating mandatory COVID-19 prevention programs, including investigating and responding to COVID-19 in the workplace and providing engineering and administrative controls.

To read the full text of this Duane Morris Alert, please visit the firm website.

California Mandates Rehiring Laid-Off Employees for Certain Private Sector Employers

In what may be a first in California, the state Legislature recently passed a law that creates unionlike recall rights for employees who work for private sector businesses in certain industries. SB 93, recently signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom, requires employers that own or operate an “enterprise” in one of six particular areas to first offer newly opened positions to laid-off employees. That obligation extends until the end of 2024.

To read the full text of this Duane Morris Alert, please visit the firm website.

California Prepares to Move Beyond the “Blueprint”

California took a huge step toward full reopening by announcing its intention to lift all business restrictions under the “Blueprint for a Safer Economy” by mid-June, provided that hospitalizations remain low and vaccination rates remain high. The reopening will require some continued restrictions, including the statewide mask mandate.

To read the full text of this Duane Morris Alert, please visit the firm website.

Vaccine Guidance Arrives for California Employers

New guidance has arrived from the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) for employers in California. With three approved vaccines against COVID-19 infection and a fourth undergoing clinical trials in the United States, the new DFEH guidance addresses questions relating to vaccines and the workplace. The guidance is especially timely, with some employees expressing reluctance to receive vaccinations and others hesitant to return to work fearing COVID-19 exposure.

To read the full text of this Duane Morris Alert, please visit the firm website.

New COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave Law Retroactively Expands California Employer Obligations

New COVID-19 legislation continues to roll out in California. On March 19, 2021, Governor Gavin Newsom signed SB 95, requiring payment during leaves due to certain COVID-19-related reasons for both private and public employers. The bill, designated as emergency legislation, takes effect March 29, 2021, but applies retroactively to January 1, 2021.

To read the full text of this Duane Morris Alert, please visit the firm website.

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