AB 2043: Cal/OSHA’s “Workers’ Rights Media Campaign” Coming to a Farm Near You
By: The Saqui Law Group and Jorge Lopez Espindola
California’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“Cal/OSHA”) will now work with community organizations and unions to conduct a statewide outreach campaign targeting Ag workers. Assembly Bill (“AB”) 2043, effective immediately, requires Cal/OSHA to inform agricultural workers of any COVID-19 related employment benefits they may be entitled to. The media campaign will include radio advertising and distribution of workplace signs in both Spanish and English.
Cal/OSHA will now provide the public with a report relating to any COVID-19 agricultural workplace investigations, findings, and results. AB 2043 also requires Cal/OSHA to spread information on best practices for COVID-19 infection prevention in both Spanish and English. The Bill provides that the following four guidance documents will be available on Cal/OSHA’s website, in Spanish and English:
- Cal/OSHA Interim General Guidelines on Protecting Workers from COVID-19
- Cal/OSHA Safety and Health Guidance: COVID-19 Infection Prevention for Agricultural Employers and Employees (Spanish)
- COVID-19 Industry Guidance: Agricultural and Livestock
- COVID-19 Industry Guidance: Food Packing and Processing
COUNSEL TO MANAGEMENT:
Governor Newsom signed AB 2043 into law earlier this week and it is effective immediately. Agricultural employers should expect to see this media campaign to roll out in the coming weeks. If you have any questions about this new law, please contact The Saqui Law Group.
California Governor Vetoes Bill to Help Displaced Workers
By: The Saqui Law Group and Nathaly Martinez
California Governor Gavin Newsom vetoed a bill on September 30th that would have required employers to offer jobs back to hospitality and leisure workers once they began rehiring.
Leisure and hospitality workers including those working in airports, hotels, event centers, theme parks, and janitorial services have been some of the hardest hit, losing more than 600,000 jobs in the past year due to the stay-at-home order.
The bill’s purpose was to guarantee that these hospitality workers would be first in line to get their jobs back. However, according to Governor Newsom, the bill’s language was so broad that it would be too burdensome for employers to comply. The language of the bill would make it applicable to many situations of layoffs that are unrelated to a state of emergency.
Governor Newsom chose not to further burden the leisure and hospitality industries during a time of economic uncertainty The Governor’s decision came after his administration has been slowly loosening coronavirus restrictions on businesses.
Cal/OSHA Citations for Failing to Meet Covid-19 Regulations
By: The Saqui Law Group and Sean Sterling
Cal/OSHA recently fined several California grocery stores for “failing to protect their workers from COVID-19.” Cal/OSHA categorizes some of the violations as “serious” and the fines are substantial. They range from $13,500 to $25,560.
The most serious violations were that several stores failed to report COVID-19 deaths of their employees to Cal/OSHA. Other stores allowed too many customers onto their shop floors, making social distancing between employees and customers impossible. Additionally, some stores are in trouble for failing to install barriers, such as Plexiglas panels, between employees and customers at registers. Still more stores were cited for failing to provide effective training to their employees on how the virus is spread, how to avoid infection, signs and symptoms of infection, and how to safely use cleaners and disinfectants.
Cal/OSHA repeats that its policies on COVID-19 stack upon the already-existing requirements for employers to protect their employees from serious illness.
COUNSEL TO MANAGEMENT:
This reminds us that Cal/OSHA is actively seeking out violations of its COVID-19 regulations. Employers need to follow Cal/OSHA’s policies regarding COVID-19 so they can comply and be aware of any changes. Employers should also train and educate employees on how to keep safe from COVID-19, and keep this training and education up to date with Cal/OSHA standards. If you are an employer seeking advice on how to comply with these regulations, please contact The Saqui Law Group.