Even in the midst of a worldwide pandemic, we are still bound by our legal duties. Employers and workers alike still need to know their rights and responsibilities to ensure that everyone is safe and their business is run sustainably.
As businesses have been opening at various stages throughout California, here are some basic guidelines and resources that employers and workers need to keep in mind. All facilities must check off these items prior to reopening:
- Perform a detailed risk assessment and implement a site-specific protection plan
- Train employees on how to limit the spread of COVID-19, including how to screen themselves for symptoms and stay home if they have them
- Implement individual control measures and screenings
- Implement disinfecting protocols
- Implement physical distancing guidelines
Industry-Specific Guidelines in California
These guidelines are available in the state’s COVID-19 website and cover topics such as a workplace specific plan, employee training topics, and cleaning & disinfecting protocols. We have included a few guides here for your reference.
- Guidance for real estate transactions
- Guidance for retail
- Guidance for dine-in restaurants
- Guidance for hair salons and barbershops
For those needing unemployment assistance, the California Employment Development Department (EDD) has resources for filing unemployment claims. Their Pandemic Unemployment Assistance page can be viewed here. If you are an essential worker and your employer has failed to follow these guidelines, they may be subject to damages and/or penalties. You have the right to file a complaint or to refuse to go work if your environment is unsafe.
According to California’s Department of Industrial relations, if you are a non-essential worker who can’t work from home, you “can use any available paid sick leave for time off work under the ‘preventative care’ provision in the law.”Employers also need to be mindful of the following legislation:
- Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
- Wage and Hour
- Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA)
- Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
- Workers Compensation
- FFCRA Paid Sick Leave
For employers and workers needing legal assistance during this time, schedule your consultation with our employment and wage & hour lawyers. We will help you understand your rights, make sense of laws that apply to your situation, and walk you through the legal process.
California Department of Industrial Relations