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Kristi L. Thomas is an associate in the Labor and Employment Practice Group in the firm's Orange County office.

On April 21, 2022, the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (“Cal/OSHA”) Standards Board adopted the fourth iteration of its COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards (“ETS”). Sheppard Mullin previously wrote about the proposed revisions to the current ETS here, which were adopted without substantive changes. The revised ETS will become effective once approved by the Office of Administrative Law, which should occur by May 5, 2022, and the revised ETS will remain in effect until December 31, 2022.

Continue Reading Cal/OSHA Adopts Fourth Iteration of COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards

At its upcoming April 21, 2022 meeting, the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (“Cal/OSHA”) Standards Board will decide whether to readopt the fourth iteration of its COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards (“ETS”), which first went into effect on November 30, 2020.  The ETS apply to all employees not covered by Cal/OSHA’s Aerosol Transmissible Disease Standard or employees working alone or at home, and require employers to establish, implement, and maintain a COVID-19 Prevention Program (“CPP”), among other things.  Sheppard Mullin previously wrote about the implementation of the original ETS here, and previous revisions to its requirements here and here.
Continue Reading Further Updates to Cal/OSHA’s COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards Likely Coming Soon

On January 25, 2022, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) announced its withdrawal of the COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (“ETS”) requiring vaccination or weekly testing.  This action came shortly after the United States Supreme Court stayed the immediate implementation and enforcement of the ETS.  You can read our prior article about the Supreme Court’s ruling here.  Although the Supreme Court did not rule on the merits of whether the ETS could ultimately stand, the Court indicated when it imposed its emergency stay that the applicants challenging the ETS would likely succeed.
Continue Reading COVID-19 ETS Requiring Vaccination or Weekly Testing Withdrawn

On July 15, 2021, the California Supreme Court issued a decision in Ferra v. Loews Hollywood Hotel, LLC which was long-awaited but was ultimately highly disappointing to employers.

Continue Reading California Supreme Court Announces New Standard That Meal and Rest Period Premiums Must Be Paid at Same “Regular Rate of Pay” Used to Calculate Overtime Payments

On March 4, 2021, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (“DFEH”) updated its COVID-19 related guidance.  In addition to addressing whether an employer may ask about symptoms, take employees’ temperatures, and require the use of personal protective equipment among other things, the DFEH addresses a question that has been top of mind for many California employers:

Continue Reading DFEH Issues Guidance to Employers Regarding Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccination Policies

Given the pandemic and all that has come along with it, telecommuting has become the new norm.  Employers are increasingly faced with difficult legal issues pertaining to not only the out-of-state telecommuter, but also the foreign national who “telecommutes” from overseas due to travel and visa restrictions.  U.S. employers may still want to utilize the foreign national’s services, but there are various issues to consider before doing so.
Continue Reading Employment, Tax, and Visa Issues Associated With the Overseas Telecommuter

Effective immediately, Senate Bill (SB) 1159 is a new California law that establishes presumptions about workers’ compensation benefits for employees who contract COVID-19.  This article explains in a series of questions and answers what employers need to know about workers’ compensation under this new law if an employee tests positive for COVID-19.
Continue Reading Mother of All Presumptions 2.0: Expanding Workers Compensation Benefits to Employees That Test Positive for COVID-19

On May 6, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom issued Executive Order N-62-20 (the “Order”), which states employees that test positive for COVID-19 are presumed to have contracted the virus in the course of employment for purposes of awarding workers’ compensation benefits, if certain requirements are met.
Continue Reading Mother of Presumptions: Employees With COVID-19 Presumed to Have Contracted Virus From Exposure at Work

While essential workers continue to make their way into the office amid the pandemic, many other Californians have been ordered to shelter in place.  At first blush, non-essential businesses may view this as leading to a decrease in workers’ compensation claims because they no longer have employees physically reporting to the office.  There could be a decrease in claims for businesses that are closed or have reduced their workforce, which appears to be part of the reason for Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara’s Order of April 13, 2020, requiring that some insurers refund premiums.  However, essential businesses to which employees still report to work and non-essential businesses that require employees to work from home may not see a decrease and could experience an uptick in workers’ compensation claims.
Continue Reading Workers’ Compensation Claims During the Pandemic and Mitigating the Risk

In Wadler v. Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc., No. 17-16193, 2019 WL 924827 (9th Cir. Feb. 26, 2019), the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that statutes, including the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”), do not constitute “rule[s] or regulation[s] of the Securities and Exchange Commission” (“SEC”) for purposes of determining whether an employee engaged in protected activity in a whistleblower claim under Section 806 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (“SOX”).  This decision clarifies the proper application of the express statutory language of Section 806.
Continue Reading Ninth Circuit Holds That Statutes Do Not Constitute “Rules or Regulations of the SEC” for Purposes of Sarbanes-Oxley Act Whistleblower Claims