When an employee is diagnosed with COVID-19, the employee must follow the rules for “isolation,” while persons exposed to that employee must follow the rules for “quarantine.” The rules are imposed by state-level entities, namely, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), governing residents of California, and Cal/OSHA (governing California employers), and by county-level entities such as the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (governing residents of LA County). Employers must comply with the most stringent of these rules.Read more
On November 9, 2021, we discussed developments with the new federal OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard for employers with 100+ employees. In that post, we explained how the ETS required such employers to ensure their workers are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or submit to weekly COVID-19 testing, and noted that the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit had granted a temporary nationwide stay of the ETS, meaning that the ETS could not be enforced.
Since November 9, new developments have come thick and fast:
- All challenges to the ETS in federal courts were consolidated and assigned to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.
- On December 17, 2021, the Sixth Circuit lifted the Fifth Circuit’s stay, meaning that the ETS is now once again in effect. On December 18, 2021, OSHA announced that compliance with the ETS must begin on January 10, 2022. OSHA “will not issue citations for non-compliance with any requirements of the ETS before January 10 and will not issue citations for noncompliance with the standard’s testing requirements before February 9, so long as an employer is exercising reasonable, good faith efforts to come into compliance with the standard.”
- On December 22, 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court granted review of the Sixth Circuit’s decision, setting oral argument for January 7, 2022.
Given the legal uncertainty, employers should be prepared to comply with the ETS by January 10, 2022. The ETS requirements are set out in our post of November 9, 2021. We will keep you posted as we learn more.
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On December 13, 2021, the California Department of Public Health (“CDPH”) issued updated guidance requiring Californians to once again to wear masks indoors in “all indoor public settings,” regardless of vaccination status. The mandate will go into effect December 15, 2021, and will run through January 15, 2022. Los Angeles County and several Bay Area counties already require masks in public settings, so this new mandate will mainly affect about 50% of the state population that lives in counties that currently don’t have their own mask mandate.Read more
Increase in State Minimum Wage
The California minimum wage will increase effective January 1, 2022. For employers with 25 employees or less, the minimum wage will increase to $14.00 per hour, and for employers with 26 or more employees, the minimum wage will increase to $15.00 per hour.
The minimum wage increase also affects employees who are classified as exempt, who must earn at least twice the state’s minimum wage, AND satisfy the job duties criteria for an exempt position.
Starting January 1, 2022, the minimum salary (gross) that must be paid to exempt employees is as follows:Read more
The California Legislature passed a number of laws that will impact California employers and their business operations in 2022. Below is a list of 17 of the key employment-related bills that have been signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom.Read more
On November 4, 2021, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a new COVID-19 emergency temporary standard (ETS) covering private sector employers with 100+ employees that requires such employers to ensure their workers are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or submit to weekly COVID-19 testing. The ETS’s effective date is November 5, 2021. The ETS is already subject to extensive litigation. On November 6, 2021, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit granted a temporary stay of the ETS. While the future of the ETS remains uncertain due to pending legal challenges, it may take weeks of planning for employers to comply with the ETS’s deadlines, so prudent employers should continue preparing for the ETS as if it is going to take effect while litigation continues.Read more
9th Circuit Decision Makes It Harder for California Employers to Require Employees to Sign Arbitration Agreements as a Condition of Employment
Effective, January 1, 2020, the California legislature had passed a bill, AB 51, making it unlawful for employers to require newly hired employees to sign arbitration agreements as a condition of employment, meaning that it was not a voluntary choice.
Business groups promptly sued to invalidate AB 51. Last year, a federal district judge issued a preliminary injunction barring the state from enforcing the statute, finding that it was pre-empted by the Federal Arbitration Act.Read more
VACCINE REQUIREMENTS AFFECTING LOS ANGELES BUSINESSES
Los Angeles County, the City of Los Angeles, and the City of West Hollywood all recently passed measures requiring certain businesses to limit admission to persons who are vaccinated against COVID-19. The measures are not all the same. Below we summarize the main requirements.Read more