California Employment Law Issues As A Result Of Coronavirus

Learn about some of the employment law problems in California post the pandemic


What kinds of litigation should employers be worried about once the economy starts to reopen? This was a common question raised by some of our clients. We noticed that the California economy is slowly reopening, so we can start analyzing the top areas of concern.



Some post-coronavirus employment law issues for California employers are:


Leave problems


There is a patchwork of legislation on paid leave that workers in California must be very careful to negotiate. Here are, for instance, a few federal, state and local leave laws that may apply to a Los Angeles employer:


  • Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) for Families First

  • Food Service Workers-California Supplementary Sick Leave

  • City of Los Angeles Supplemental Sick Leave

  • Balanced Family Act for California Fair Workplace and municipal paid sick leave legislation.

Claims about retaliation


Section 1102.5 of the CA Labor Code safeguards workers from retribution for revealing information, or when a business owner suspects that one of his or her employees has disclosed information, to a government or law enforcement agency, to an individual with authority over the employee, or to another employee who has the authority to examine, discover, or fix a violation where an employee reasonably believes that the information is known.


The main issue to recognize here is that the worker just had to have a fair suspicion that a breach of federal , state or local law or regulation was revealed by the disclosure.


Investigations at the OSHA / Cal-OSHA / EEOC / DFEH worksite


To have healthy work environments, employers must comply with requirements:

  • OSHA

  • Guidance for Cal-OSHA on coronavirus safety standards for workers


On May 19, 2020, OSHA issued updated guidelines setting out

the following conditions for documenting COVID-19 cases in the workplace:


For the documentation of coronavirus events, OSHA is revising its previous compliance policy. Coronavirus is a recordable disease under OSHA's record-keeping standards, and employees are responsible for tracking coronavirus cases if the situation is:


  • Proven to be a coronavirus disease;

  • As described by 29 CFR 1904.5, it is work-related; and

  • This requires one or more of 29 CFR 1904.7 's general recording conditions, such as medical care beyond first aid or days away from work.

Also, note to have your Program for Injury and Illness Prevention (IIPP) in place.



Wage and hour issues


Popular forms of arguments following the recovery from the

coronavirus pandemic may be the following wage and hour issues:


  • Reimbursement of costs for PPE, mobile phones, home Internet, etc.

  • Meal and rest break infringements

  • Reporting pay claims for time


Disability / reasonable accommodation discrimination


"The Equal Work and Housing Act (FEHA) provides that discrimination against an employee on the basis of" physical handicap "is unlawful (Gov. Code, § 12940).


In addition to making it unlawful to discriminate on the basis of a disability, the FEHA makes it illegal" not to make adequate accommodation for the physical challenged.


Invalidity of. Employee. "(§ 12940, subd. (m)(1).) Ultimately, because of..,

the FEHA forbids an employer from bullying an employee."

Physical disability.' (§ 12940, subd. (j)(1).) For high-risk workers, employers must offer fair accommodations, such as for workers with underlying impairments, aged 65 or older, likely for impairments due to pregnancy.


If the worker is actually afraid to return to work, is unemployed, or

cares about someone else who is at high risk, appropriate accommodation is not needed.


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