As remote employees and employers prepare to return to the workplace, California’s guidance on COVID-19 protocols is still ever-changing and uncertain.
Earlier this month, the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board voted on new proposed changes to Cal/OSHA’s COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards.
The revisions in the initial vote had included updates to face coverings, physical distancing, and other preventative measures for most workers in California. For face coverings specifically, fully vaccinated workers without COVID-19 symptoms would not need to wear masks indoors if everyone else is fully vaccinated and not showing symptoms. However, where there is a mixture of vaccinated and unvaccinated persons in a room, all workers would still be required to wear a face covering.
These new workplace protocols were controversial to the State’s “move beyond the Blueprint” plan that allows vaccinated individuals to resume activities mask-free in most public settings. The new standards were anticipated to go into effect June 15, 2021. In a quick turn of events, however, the board met again on June 9 to rediscuss the proposed workplace COVID-19 protocols. This ultimately resulted in a vote to withdraw the pending rules that were discussed only a week ago.
AP News reports that the goal of the unanimous vote, said board chairman David Thomas, is to change the workplace regulation “so that it matches up with the CDC and the California Department of Public Health, so that we’re all on the same page. That’s what this is about, so we’re not out of step with everybody else.”
What’s Next for COVID-19 Workplace Protocols in California?
As of now, it is unclear whether Cal/OSHA’s rules will reflect the State rules that will be in effect on June 15, or if they will establish a separate set of COVID-19 rules for the workplace. The board will meet again on June 17 to consider changes that will possibly come into effect by the end of the month.
Looking for more information on California’s new COVID-19 restrictions as we return to the office? I was recently featured on KNBC 4 to discuss whether employers can require their employees to be vaccinated. I also joined the California Central Coast television network KION-TV-5/46 and news reporter Max Tarlton of “Message Max” to discuss anticipated lawsuits against employers and businesses resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
You can check out all of my recent media appearances on the Angela Reddock-Wright YouTube channel.
Experienced Employment Law Attorney, Mediator, Arbitrator, Investigator, Legal and Media Commentator
Twice-named a U.S. News Best Lawyer in America for employment and labor law, Angela Reddock-Wright is an employment and labor law attorney, mediator, arbitrator, and certified workplace and Title IX investigator (AWI-CH) in Los Angeles, CA. Known as the “Workplace Guru,” Angela is an influencer and leading authority on employment, workplace/HR, Title IX, hazing, and bullying issues.
Angela is a regular legal and media commentator and analyst and has appeared on such media outlets as Good Morning America, Entertainment Tonight, Law and Crime with Brian Ross, Court TV, CNN, NewsNation, ABC News, CBS News, Fox 11 News, KTLA-5, the Black News Channel, Fox Soul – The Black Report, NPR, KPCC, Airtalk-89.3, KJLH Front Page with Dominique DiPrima, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the LA Times, Forbes.com, Yahoo! Entertainment, People Magazine, Essence Magazine, the Los Angeles Sentinel, LA Focus, Daily Journal, Our Weekly and the Wave Newspapers.
Angela is a member of the panel of distinguished mediators and arbitrators with Judicate West, a California dispute resolution company. She also owns her own dispute resolution law firm, the Reddock Law Group of Los Angeles, specializing in the mediation, arbitration, and investigation of employment discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and other workplace claims, along with Title IX, sexual harassment, assault, and misconduct conduct cases, along with hazing and bullying cases in K-12 schools, colleges and universities, fraternities and sororities; fire, police and other public safety agencies and departments; and other private and public sector workplaces.
For more information regarding resources for employers, businesses, and employees during this time, connect with her on LinkedIn for new updates, or contact her here. You may also follow her on Instagram.
This communication is not legal advice. It is educational only. For legal advice, consult with an experienced employment law attorney in your state or city.