For much of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, many California employees have utilized leave entitlements through federal, state, and local paid sick leave statutes and ordinances.  As of December 31, 2020, however, the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”), California’s COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave (“CSPSL”) — and many local supplemental paid sick leaves (“LSPSL”) — have expired.  With coronavirus cases still surging nationwide and no additional guidance on the new exclusion pay requirements under the Division of Occupational Safety and Health’s (“Cal/OSHA”) COVID-19 emergency temporary standards (“ETS”), California employers are left wondering what paid leave laws may apply to their employees in 2021. Continue Reading What the Expiration of COVID-19 Paid Leave Laws Means for California Employers

In an effort to combat the recent rise in COVID-19 cases in New Jersey, on October 28, 2020 Governor Murphy signed Executive Order 192 (the “Order”), mandating health and safety standards to protect New Jersey’s workers during the pandemic.  Effective November 5, 2020, the Order requires every business, non-profit and governmental or educational entity to implement certain protocols to protect employees, customers, and all others who come into physical contact with its operations. Key takeaways are summarized below. Continue Reading New Jersey Governor Murphy Orders New COVID-19 Workplace Protocols

On January 1, 2021, various new and amended employment laws will go into effect in California. Below is a summary of some of these laws that employers should make themselves aware of heading into the new year.  All laws discussed in this post go into effect on January 1, 2021, unless otherwise noted. Continue Reading New Employment Laws to Look Out for in 2021

On July 24, 2020, the California Department of Public Health (“CDPH”) issued guidance entitled “COVID-19 Employer Playbook For a Safe Reopening.”  The CDPH then revised the 32-page Employer Playbook a week later, on July 31st.  A link to the most up-to-date guidance is available here. Continue Reading California Department of Public Health Issues COVID-19 “Employer Playbook”

Our proximity and “close contact” with other humans is on the front lines in the war against coronavirus.  Yet tracking 6 feet of distance from every human we encounter for a 14 day period is nearly impossible without the help of technology like contact-tracing apps.  Although many privacy and employment laws designed to protect employee rights have been temporarily relaxed during the pandemic, employers must consider and resolve employee privacy issues created by contact-tracing apps.  As businesses forge roadmaps to reopen, these apps offer innovative solutions to meet legal requirements imposed by OSHA and Centers for Disease Control.  This article explores what employers need to know about contact-tracing apps including how they work, the laws that govern, the impact to employee privacy, consent, and ways to mitigate risk associated with contact-tracing apps. Continue Reading Up Close & Personal: Contact-Tracing Apps & Employee Privacy

On Wednesday, May 27, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) issued new guidance (available here) detailing how employers can safely reopen offices following months of closure amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The CDC guidance provides a step-by-step checklist for employers to follow to ensure that their office spaces are physically prepared for workers to return to work as they proceed with life beyond the pandemic.

When employees do return, offices are going to look a lot different from when they left. The CDC recommendations range from technical advice on ventilation systems to the abolition of the traditional handshake to employee temperature testing protocols. Key provisions are summarized below. Continue Reading Drastic Changes Coming to U.S. Offices as the CDC Recommends An Office Makeover

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the central role local and long haul trucking companies and drivers play in the overall U.S. economy and specifically our public health infrastructure.  Now, as states and businesses around the country gradually reopen and truck deliveries begin to ramp up, employers in the commercial trucking industry should be aware of recent changes to Hours of Service regulations as well as COVID-19-related guidance on keeping employees and the general public healthy and safe.  By updating their policies and procedures and enacting responsible safety measures, motor carriers will be in the best position to weather the storm of this pandemic and avoid the risks associated with employment litigation and compliance pitfalls. Continue Reading Overview of Recent Updates for Employers in the Commercial Trucking Industry

As every employer grappling with the global pandemic can attest, preventing and combatting occurrences of COVID-19 are paramount considerations.  This concern has become all the more pronounced, and visible to the nation, with the increasing reports of COVID-19 outbreaks at food processing facilities throughout the country.  In response to this potential threat to the nation’s food supply, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) and Centers for Disease Control (“CDC”) recently issued joint guidance for meat and poultry processing facilities proposing precautionary measures these employers can take to protect their workers and, in turn, the food supply.

Continue Reading Where’s the Meat? Interim Federal Guidance for Meat Plant Worker Safety

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 Employee Privacy Forecast: Temperature Checks

The National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”) is a federal law that applies to nearly all employers in the United States.  In the wake of COVID-19, there are numerous issues implicating the NLRA, including but not limited to employees engaging in protected concerted activities including work stoppages, the potential duty to bargain with unions concerning COVID-19 programs/policies, layoffs and plant closures in response to government directives and orders, union information requests, and union inspections.  The COVID-19 outbreak presents a virtually unprecedented situation for employers.  The appropriate responses to these issues depend on a variety of different factors, including the timing, specific employer, the particular industry involved, the employer’s collective bargaining agreement (“CBA”), and the status of guidance and orders from federal, state and local governments and agencies concerning COVID-19 (with guidance and recommendations not necessarily having the same weight as orders and laws).  Whereas a particular response may be appropriate for healthcare employers, airlines, employers in the supply chain, or employers impacted by “stay at home” orders (like in California), that same response may not be appropriate for other industries and employers. Continue Reading Labor Issues Concerning COVID-19 and Government “Stay at Home” Orders