On May 18, 2021, Santa Clara County, California, issued a health order imposing new and significant obligations on employers in light of the increasing number of individuals that are being vaccinated against COVID-19.

The most significant requirement under the new health order, which went into effect on May 19, 2021, is that employers must inquire into, and continue to keep track of, the vaccination status of all personnel. The Santa Clara health order does not, however, require employers to request or record proof of vaccination. This requirement applies to Santa Clara employers regardless of whether they have a mandatory or voluntary vaccination program.


Continue Reading Santa Clara County now requires employers to inquire about, and keep records regarding, employees’ vaccination status

As we recently discussed, last week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced guidance that loosened its COVID-19 rules for facial coverings and social distancing for fully vaccinated individuals. However, the CDC guidance was not intended to override, and explicitly made such guidance subject to, federal, state, or local rules.

In what should not be a surprise to employers in the Golden State, California had already announced that it will be maintaining its current masking guidance until at least June 15. Los Angeles County, despite boasting low and stable metrics, has announced that it will do the same in light of continued COVID-19 transmission.


Continue Reading Masks must stay on for now in California and Los Angeles County

As employers anticipate returning to work in light of increased availability of vaccines, some have considered requiring employees to get a COVID-19 vaccination to return to the workplace. On March 4, 2021, California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) updated its DFEH Employment Information on COVID-19 to address whether employers may mandate vaccines under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). The FEHA prohibits discrimination against employees based on protected characteristics, including disability and religious beliefs.

Under the recent update, the DFEH states that employers may require employees to receive an FDA-approved vaccination against COVID-19 as long as the employer 1) provides reasonable accommodation related to disability or sincerely held religious beliefs, and 2) does not retaliate against employees for requesting such an accommodation.


Continue Reading DFEH issues guidance addressing mandatory vaccines in California

With the number of confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) rising in California, the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) and the Employment Development Department (EDD) have issued guidance and reminders on use of paid sick leave and other benefits for those forced off the job by COVID-19. The San Francisco Office of Labor Standards Enforcement (OLSE) has also rolled out guidance for employees in San Francisco on use of paid sick leave under the city’s law.
Continue Reading Coronavirus in California: State confirms paid leave benefits and protections available to employees

The filing of class actions against California employers for meal and rest break violations remain as prevalent as ever, but the California Courts of Appeal have recently issued two rulings that may help employer-defendants.

Under California law, employers are required, under most circumstances, to provide employees duty-free meal periods of at least 30 minutes and

California Governor Gavin Newsom recently signed into law 15 bills designed to provide greater employee protections in California.  Among those bills were Assembly Bill 9 (“AB 9”) and Assembly Bill 51 (“AB 51”), both of which are aimed at protecting employees’ rights to litigate harassment, discrimination, and retaliation claims.

As we previously blogged about here