On June 17, 2021, the Cal/OSHA Standards Board voted to adopt revisions to the Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS), and Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order allowing the revised ETS to go into effect immediately.  The revised ETS now applies to nearly all workers in California not covered by Cal/OSHA’s Aerosol Transmissible Diseases standard.
Continue Reading Cal/OSHA Finally Enacts Revised Emergency Temporary Standards

This week, both houses of the New York state legislature passed a package of amendments (the “Amendments”) to the New York Health and Essential Rights Act (“HERO Act” or the “Act”) designed to clarify, modify, and delay implementation of certain provisions of the Act.
Continue Reading NY HERO Act Requirements Significantly Modified as Amendments Pass New York Legislature

UPDATE:  At its June 9, 2021, special meeting, the Cal/OSHA Standards Board voted to withdraw the revisions to the Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) that had been approved at its June 3rd meeting, and were set to go into effect on June 15th.  Instead, Cal/OSHA indicated that it will further consider the recent guidance from the CDC and the California Department of Public Health with respect to face coverings for fully vaccinated individuals.  For now, the original ETS that has been effective since November of 2020 will remain in place.  The Standards Board will convene to consider potential further revisions at a future meeting, perhaps as early as its next scheduled meeting on June 17th.   Stay tuned for further updates.

After several fits and starts, on June 3, 2021, the Cal/OSHA Occupational Safety & Health Standards Board finally passed revised Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) that now take into account employee vaccination status and loosening restrictions from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and California’s elimination of the colored Tier system.  The revised ETS will go into effect on June 15, 2021 and creates additional employer obligations beginning on July 31, 2021.  The Cal/OSHA Standards Board has indicated that it will convene a subcommittee to consider further revisions in the coming months.
Continue Reading Cal/OSHA Approves Revised Emergency Temporary Standards

UPDATE:  At its May 20, 2021, meeting, the Cal/OSHA Standards Board agreed to table its vote on the proposed revised Emergency Temporary Standards to allow Division staff time to draft potential revisions that would more closely align Cal/OSHA’s requirements with the CDC’s latest guidance concerning face coverings for fully vaccinated individuals.  Proposed draft revisions will be posted by May 28, 2021, and that draft will come up for a vote on June 3, 2021.  If approved, the revised ETS would become effective on June 15, 2021.  We will provide further details as they arise.

Prompted by increased availability of vaccine appointments, and broad eligibility for all U.S. adults and teenagers, the federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and California’s Department of Public Health (CDPH) have loosened restrictions with respect to fully vaccinated individuals, defined as those who are two weeks past their final required vaccination dose (second dose of either Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech, or single dose of the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine).  Cal/OSHA now proposes to align itself with this guidance through proposed revisions to its Emergency Temporary Standards (“ETS”), which have been effective since November of 2020, just prior to the pandemic’s winter peak.
Continue Reading Significant Updates to Cal/OSHA’s Emergency Temporary Standards on the Horizon

On April 23, 2021, the New York state legislature delivered a copy of the Health and Essential Rights Act (the “HERO Act” or the “Act”) to Governor Andrew Cuomo for
Continue Reading Governor to Consider Significant New Health and Safety Obligations as NY HERO Act Passes State Legislature

On March 12, 2021, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) launched its new COVID-19 National Emphasis Program (“NEP”).  The new OSHA directive outlines policies and procedures for minimizing worker exposures to COVID-19 by targeting certain “high-hazard” industries and worksites where employees may have a high frequency of close contact exposures.  The NEP and related updates to OSHA’s Interim Enforcement Response Plan (“IERP”) are in response to President Biden’s January 21, 2021 Executive Order, which also gave OSHA until March 15 to determine whether a COVID-19 emergency temporary standard (“ETS”) is necessary.  Although March 15 has come and gone, OSHA may nevertheless still consider and implement a national ETS.  In the meantime, employers should review the information below and familiarize themselves with the NEP to determine whether they may be targeted for a COVID-19-related federal OSHA inspection this spring and summer.
Continue Reading OSHA Adopts New COVID-19 National Emphasis Program to Increase Its Enforcement Efforts

The California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board adopted its Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) on COVID-19 prevention in the workplace on November 19, 2020, which we covered here.  Shortly after their adoption, the ETS became binding and enforceable against nearly all California employers effective November 30, 2020.  The next day, California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (“Cal/OSHA”) published frequently asked questions to provide guidance to employers on compliance with the extensive requirements under the ETS.  In light of significant pushback from employers finding themselves needing to deal with complications arising from near-immediate compliance, Cal/OSHA recently published additional guidance and clarifications to impacted employers.  The complete and comprehensive set of is available here, but key takeaways are below:
Continue Reading Cal/OSHA Provides New Guidance for California Employers to Comply With COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released its long-awaited COVID-19 vaccine guidance for employers on December 16, 2020, providing answers related to workplace requirements about COVID-19 vaccines. With COVID-19 vaccinations underway in the U.S., the deployment poses complex questions for employers determining whether to mandate vaccines for all employees and how to manage such mandates. Although the EEOC acknowledges that federal employment laws do not prevent employers from following guidelines from public health authorities, the administration of vaccines to employees raises legal issues employers should consider. This article discusses the EEOC’s new guidance and the process required for employers mandating COVID-19 vaccines for their workforces.
Continue Reading EEOC Takes a Shot at COVID-19: Unvaccinated Employees Can be Excluded From the Workplace

On November 19, 2020, the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board unanimously adopted emergency temporary standards on COVID-19 prevention in the workplace.  For much of the pandemic, California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (“Cal/OSHA”) has advised employers to follow its general and industry-specific guidance on various measures to implement to minimize the risk of employees’ exposure to COVID-19.  However, the new emergency standards will be binding and enforceable against nearly all California employers.  The emergency standards will become effective immediately on November 30, 2020, if approved as expected by the Office of Administrative Law (“OAL”) after the required 10-day review period.  Thus, employers must act quickly to ensure they are in compliance with the new standards and the requirement to prepare and implement a written COVID-19 Prevention Program.
Continue Reading Cal/OSHA Adopts New COVID-19 Emergency Standards Requiring Immediate Action by Employers in California

On September 17, 2020, Governor Newsom signed Assembly Bill (AB) 685 into law, establishing new requirements for employers to notify employees and their unions about a potential COVID-19 exposure in the workplace.  The new law, which will be in effect from January 1, 2021, until January 1, 2023, also requires employers to report a COVID-19 “outbreak” at the worksite to local health authorities.  Further, AB 685 relaxes the pre-citation requirements that the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (“Cal/OSHA”) must follow before issuing a citation for a serious violation related to COVID-19.  This article breaks down the various requirements of the new law and identifies potential complications or issues that employers should be aware of when attempting to comply with the new requirements.
Continue Reading Enactment of AB 685 Establishes COVID-19 Exposure Notice Requirements for California Employers and Cal/OSHA Enforcement Changes

On September 19, 2020, California’s new law requiring large employers to provide employees with COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave (“CSPSL”) becomes effective.  The new CSPSL requirement will be codified as Labor Code section 248.1 and was enacted via Assembly Bill (AB) 1867, which Governor Newsom signed into law on September 9, 2020.  In addition to addressing other leave and COVID-19 related items, AB 1867 also codified the existing CSPSL requirements for certain food sector workers under Executive Order N-51-20 as new Labor Code section 248.  In an effort to get employers up to speed on both section 248 and 248.1, the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (“DLSE”) published its responses to frequently asked questions on the new requirement to provide CSPSL.  This article briefly summarizes the key requirements of the new CSPSL law for non-food sector workers and identifies specific issues that employers in California should attend to as they hastily roll out the leave to employees.
Continue Reading What Employers Need to Know About California’s New COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Law