The San Francisco Bay Area Issues Strengthened COVID-19 Shelter In Place Orders That Have a Significant Impact on Employers and Operations

The New Orders

On March 31, 2020, the following six Bay Area counties issued revised “Shelter in Place” Orders (“Orders”) that went into effect that same day at 11:59 p.m.: San Francisco, Santa Clara, Marin, Alameda, San Mateo, and Contra Costa, and the City of Berkeley.  The new Orders revise and replace the existing Shelter In Place Orders which were set to expire on April 7, 2020.  Significantly, these Orders do not merely extend existing orders to May 3, 2020, but make material changes to several provisions and add additional requirements that Bay Area employers must immediately understand and implement. Continue Reading

The CARES Act: A Comprehensive Overview for Employers

On March 27, 2020, President Donald Trump signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”) into law.  The CARES Act is the most expansive economic stimulus package in American history.  The Act follows the passage of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”), and acts as its counterpart in many ways.

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The CARES Act: What Employers Need to Know About Its Impact on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act

On March 27, 2020, President Trump signed the largest economic stimulus package in American history into law.  Although the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”) made several amendments to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”), the majority of the amendments were technical corrections that do not impact the substantive provisions of the FFCRA. Continue Reading

States May Have Additional Layoff Notice Requirements Under “Mini-WARN” Statutes

The Workers Adjustment and Retaining Notification (WARN) Act requires employers with over 100 employees to follow certain notice requirements when laying off employees. 20 C.F.R. 693.6.  WARN requires employers with 100 employees or more to give affected workers at least 60 days’ notice of any plant closing or mass layoff, with exceptions for, among others, “unforeseeable business circumstances.” Continue Reading

Overview Of The Paycheck Protection Program Under The Cares Act (Title I)

On March 27, 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was enacted, an economic relief package in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The CARES Act provides economic support at the federal level to the business sector, employees, individuals and families, and specific industries that have been impacted, including air transportation, healthcare, and education.

Summarized below are key aspects of the Paycheck Protection Program, a $349 billion SBA-administered loan and loan forgiveness program described in Division A, Title I – Keeping American Workers Paid and Employed Act of the CARES Act. Continue Reading

The CARES ACT – Tax Relief

On March 27, 2020, President Trump signed into law the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or the “CARES Act” to provide nearly 2 trillion dollars in aid and relief to individuals, businesses, and other entities in the wake of the spread of COVID-19.  Included in the CARES Act are tax and loan provisions intended to provide financial relief to people and businesses suffering as a result of the disease.

The following summarizes certain key tax-related provisions in the CARES Act. Continue Reading

Coronavirus Response: A Checklist for California Employers

State and federal governments continue to roll out new COVID-19 laws, regulations, and executive orders.  As a result of the ever-changing legal landscape, employers are left confused at the multitude of rules they must follow and obligations they now face.   Are we considered an essential business to remain open for business? Do we reduce employees’ hours, furlough, or lay off employees to cut costs and remain in business?  Does the WARN Act apply in our situation?  Can employees go on emergency leaves of absence?  How does emergency paid sick leave work?   If you are left scratching your head, this comprehensive checklist will help you navigate through these challenging times. Continue Reading

Employee Privacy Forecast: Temperature Checks

To slow the spread of the coronavirus, millions of United States workers are under government orders to stay at home.  However, many businesses considered “essential critical infrastructure” continue to operate and their employees are needed to work.  Many of those businesses are administering health tests like temperature checks to ensure the health and safety of their workforce and the public.  When quarantine restrictions eventually lift, businesses will reopen and employers may choose to screen employees before returning to work.  In a question and answer format, this article discusses the intersection of laws that require employers to maintain a safe work environment with an employee’s right to privacy.

According to the World Health Organization, the primary symptoms of coronavirus include fever, tiredness and dry cough.  Other reported symptoms may include shortness of breath, aches and pains, sore throat, nausea, runny nose and loss of smell or taste.  Temperature checks are currently the most common form of workplace testing.  As we learn more about the virus, other forms of inquiries or testing may arise. Continue Reading

California Issues Guidance on Conditional Suspension of California WARN Act Notice Requirements

The California Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act (Labor Code Section 1400 et seq.) sets forth procedural requirements that a covered employer must follow prior to a mass layoff, relocation, or termination.  On March 17, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom issued Executive Order N-31-20, concerning COVID-19 and the conditional suspension of certain requirements under California WARN.  The Order can be found here, and you can read our prior analysis about the Order’s effect on commercial drivers here.  Governor Newsom ordered the Labor and Workforce Development Agency to provide guidance about the suspension of the WARN requirements. Continue Reading

COVID-19 and Trade Secrets: Is Your Business Prepared to Protect its Trade Secrets While Your Employees Work From Home?

In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, many businesses (particularly those in states or cities under “stay home” orders) have implemented a work-from-home (“WFH”) directive for employees.  It is important for businesses to address the security of their trade secrets in this new environment in order to reduce the risk of misappropriation.  It is also important to reduce the risk that the trade secret status of information will be lost based on a failure to take reasonable steps to protect its secrecy.  This article addresses some steps your business can consider taking to protect trade secrets accessible by employees who are now working at home.  Even if your business had a WFH policy before the COVID-19 outbreak, it should be re-visited in light of the current circumstances flowing from a pandemic during which all or most of your workforce may be operating on a WFH basis.  For example, what was once a “no trade secrets may be taken home” policy may be impossible in the current climate. Continue Reading

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