Califia Farms Pays $5402 to Settle FFCRA Lawsuit

 By: The Saqui Law Group and Christina Anton

Califia Farms (“Califia”) agreed to pay $5,402 in back wages to settle an investigation accusing the non-dairy product manufacture of violating the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (“EPSLA”) provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”) by requiring an employee to use his own accrued sick leave. You may read more about the settlement here.

Cal/OSHA issued another News Release today regarding high heat advisories across the state. The National Weather Service has issued heat advisories due to high temperatures ranging from Shasta to Kern Counties.  Cal/OSHA reminds employers that its Heat Illness Prevention Standard applies to all outdoor workers, including those in agriculture, construction, landscaping and those that spend a significant amount of time working outdoors such as security guards and groundskeepers, or in non-air conditioned vehicles such as transportation and delivery drivers.  You can view the standards here.

Executive Order Does Not Impact H-2A Visas

On Monday, President Trump issued a proclamation (available here) suspending entry of foreign workers “who present a risk to the U.S. labor market following the Coronavirus outbreak.” The ban specifically does NOT apply to workers seeking entry to provide “temporary labor or services essential to the United States food supply chain.” The proclamation is scheduled to continue to December 31, 2020.


Albertsons Pays $210,000 to Settle National Origin Discrimination Lawsuit

Albertsons, Inc. agreed to pay $210,000 to settle a lawsuit alleging that the grocery retailer prohibited Hispanic employees from speaking Spanish around non-Spanish speakers.

Agricultural employers should be on alert for letters issuing from the California Attorney General’s office requesting documentation and information on COVID-19 and related policies.  A copy of one such letter is attached here.  If you received one of these letters, DO NOT RESPOND UNTIL YOU SPEAK WITH COUNSEL.  This is being orchestrated by California Rural Legal Assistance (“CRLA”), an aggressive and litigious workers’ rights law firm.  The Saqui Law Group and other industry partners and leaders are meeting this week to discuss and strategize how to respond.  Look for further E-blasts on this topic soon.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) released new guidance on performing antibody testing in response to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (“COVID-19”). This guidance states that employers should not require antibody testing prior to permitting employees to return to the workplace. 

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