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LA OKs Reopening Protocols For Lower-Risk Businesses, While Most Safer-At-Home Directives Persist

The City and County of Los Angeles have each begun to ease into “Stage 2” of their “Roadmap To Recovery” by revising their “Safer at Home” orders progressively over the course of the last ten days. The mayoral and county public health orders continue to maintain that everyone living within LA (City and County) is to remain in their homes “as much as possible,” and should telework or work from home as much as possible, where feasible. The County order (revised yesterday) expressly states that people 65 or older and all people of any age who have active or unstable pre-existing health conditions “should remain in their residences” (unless seeking medical treatment or obtaining food and necessities), and “strongly recommends that employers offer telework or other accommodations to persons who are age 65 or older and” those with “pre-existing health conditions.”

The State of California Submits Opening Brief in Appeal Over AB 51 Injunction, Arguing FAA Preemption Does Not Apply

On January 31, 2020, a U.S. District Court preliminarily enjoined the enforcement of Assembly Bill 51 (AB 51) against arbitration agreements governed by the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA). As enacted, AB 51 would prohibit employers from conditioning employment (including continued employment) or employment-related benefits on an individual signing a mandatory arbitration agreement for disputes arising under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act or the California Labor Code. The State of California (“the State”) appealed the District Court’s decision to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

San Diego Issues New Guidance for Businesses, Including Required Temperature Checks

San Diego County issued an updated emergency public health order, providing new requirements for reopened and essential businesses. The order became effective on May 10, 2020. Notably, the new order still requires all employers to “make every effort to use telecommuting for their workforces” and continues to strongly recommend that all persons who are 65 years old or older and those with compromised immune systems “self-quarantine themselves at home.”

Cal/OSHA Updates Its COVID-19 IIPP Guidance

On May 14, 2020, Cal/OSHA greatly expanded its IIPP guidance pertaining to the hazard of COVID-19 in the workplace. Employers who have not reviewed and updated their IIPPs to address COVID-19 should do so now. Prior to that, Cal/OSHA’s only guidance concerning IIPPs in relation to COVID-19 consisted of a general statement/reminder that employers are required to have an IIPP to protect employees from workplace hazards and that employers should determine if COVID-19 is a hazard in their workplace. If so, employers must implement measures to prevent or reduce infection hazards and provide training on those measures.

Workplace Investigations During COVID-19: The Show Must Go On

Unfortunately, the societal ills of workplace harassment, discrimination, and retaliation can be expected to continue during and after the COVID-19 emergency. Investigating worker complaints remains extremely important during the upheaval brought on by the pandemic. Failing to properly investigate complaints negatively impacts worker morale and exposes employers to liability. As discussed below, workplace complaints must be promptly investigated as usual.

California Department of Fair Employment and Housing Combats Hate Crimes During the Coronavirus Pandemic

There have been reports of violence and harassment, particularly in the Asian-American community, during the COVID-19 pandemic. The California Fair Employment and Housing Act and Unruh Civil Rights Act prohibit employers from discriminating against or harassing employees based on any protected characteristic (including a person’s actual or perceived race or national origin). Additionally, threats or acts of violence based on a protected characteristic are illegal under the Ralph Civil Rights Act. On May 11, 2020, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) released a poster that employers may post in an effort to combat these hate crimes. The poster is available on the DFEH website, https://www.dfeh.ca.gov/covid-19-resources-and-guidance/, in 10 languages: English (PDF), Traditional Chinese (PDF), Simplified Chinese (PDF), Korean (PDF), Spanish (PDF), Tagalog (PDF), Vietnamese (PDF), Arabic (PDF), Hmong (PDF), and Punjabi (PDF).

The City of Oakland Passes Supplemental Emergency Paid Sick Leave

Following in the footsteps of the cities of Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, San Francisco, and San Jose, the City of Oakland adopted a new supplemental emergency sick leave ordinance on May 18, 2020. The ordinance takes effect immediately and is intended to apply to employers who are not covered by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”).

COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Docks in Long Beach, California

On May 19, 2020, Long Beach, California enacted a law requiring supplemental paid sick leave for COVID-19 purposes. Like San Jose, Long Beach enacted an urgency ordinance that takes effect immediately, plus an identical "regular" ordinance that will come back to the city council for a second, final reading at a future council meeting. As a result, at this precise moment, there are six emergency paid leave laws at the local level in California – three in Southern California (Long Beach, Los Angeles (City), Los Angeles (County)) and three in Northern California (Oakland, San Francisco, San Jose) – plus a statewide mandate for food sector workers covered by California Executive Order N-51-20.

California Federal Court Grants USSF’s Summary Judgment Motion in Women’s Soccer Equal Pay Act Case

Earlier this month, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California granted the defendant U.S. Soccer Federation’s motion for summary judgment with respect to the plaintiffs’ Equal Pay Act (EPA) claims.1 The case gained attention in recent months following the U.S. women’s national soccer team victory at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

California AG Urges Consumers to be Vigilant While Online During the COVID-19 Pandemic

With California’s mandatory COVID-19 stay-at home orders impacting some 40 million people by forcing the vast majority of them to connect remotely to work, go to school, order necessities, socialize and do many other things, California’s Attorney General Xavier Becerra recently issued an alert reminding consumers of their privacy rights and to encourage them to be vigilant about practicing sound security practices while online.
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