Cal/OSHA Standard Boards to Draft and Adopt COVID-19 Emergency Regulation

By: The Saqui Law Group and Christina Anton

On September 17, 2020, the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (“Cal/OSHA”) voted unanimously to pursue the drafting and adoption of a COVID-19 Emergency Regulation. The regulation will cover all industries not already covered by the Aerosol Transmissible Diseases (“ATD”) Standard. You may read the entire proposed decision here.

The proposed Emergency Regulation provided the following key takeaways:

Governor Newsom recently signed laws impacting workers’ rights in light of the COVID-19 pandemic AND significantly expanding the California Family Rights Act for smaller employers. Key changes are explained below:


 By: The Saqui Law Group, Rebecca R. Schach and Nathaly Martinez

Earlier this week, Governor Gavin Newsom signed AB 1867 making his prior Executive Order on supplemental Paid Sick Leave the law for an expanded group of workers. As a refresher, on March 4, 2020, Governor Newsom issued Executive Order N-51-20, which provides supplemental paid sick leave (“COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave”) for food sector workers who work for a hiring entity that has 500 or more employees nationwide for certain circumstances related to COVID-19.

On September 2, 2020, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals handed down another blow to California employers on what time spent “working” includes. In Frlekin v. Apple, five employees filed a wage and hour class action, alleging that Apple failed to compensate them for time spent waiting for and undergoing exit searches. While Apple attempted to persuade the Court by arguing that the employees did not need to be compensated as they voluntarily bought personal belongings to work, the Court ultimately sided with the employees.
According to the lawsuit, Apple implemented an “Employee Package and Bag Searches” policy in which all employees were subject to personal package and bag searches prior to leaving for the day. Although the search was lawful, the Court found the time spent complying with the policy fits within the definition of “hours worked.” “Hours worked” generally means the time during which an employee is under the control of an employer, and includes all the time the employee is suffered or permitted to work, whether or not required to do so. As the searches are imposed primarily for Apple’s benefit and are enforced through threat of discipline, the Court determined that the policy involved a significant degree of control. Therefore, the employees should have been compensated for the time spent waiting for and undergoing searches. You may read the full opinion here.
This decision is a reminder to employers that complying with California wage and hour law is often a moving target. Employers should work with competent counsel to discuss the structure and daily operations of your business to determine the controlling law. If you have any questions about the application of California wage and hour laws, contact the experts at The Saqui Law Group, a division of Dowling Aaron Incorporated.
The Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor has updated the following forms WH-530, WH-514, and WH-514a.
When filling out form WH-530 Application for FLC, applicants seeking transportation authorization under Part II, Section 10 must now specify how they will meet the vehicle insurance or liability bond requirement. Additionally, applicants who plan to use workers’ compensation instead of vehicle insurance must specify when and why they will transport workers.
Other minor changes to form WH-530 include:
Part I, Item 2 now reads “Name of applicant or applicant representative.”

If applicant is a business, they enter the representative’s information. 
Part II, Item 7 has two fields that have been changed.

If applicant is a business, it must enter its legal name.
Applicants must also list their business address if it is different from their personal residences. 
WHD has also made minor changes to forms WH-514 MSPA and WH-514a Vehicle Inspection Report. On each of these forms, applicants must now list vehicle seating capacity rather than just the number of seats in their vehicles.


The updated WHD forms are available through the DOL website. Forms should be updated in your internal systems and templates, with communication to your key staff immediately. Abrupt changes from federal agencies can often become a landmine for California employers. If you have concerns or questions about compliance with WHD regulations, contact Saqui Law Group, a division of Dowling Aaron Incorporated. 

The United Farm Workers (“UFW”) has been threatening to pull strawberry workers out on strike with a target date of today, September 1, 2020.  The rumor has now turned into reality.  A walkout may very well start with the UFW taking access.  Remember that the State Agricultural Labor Relations Act (ALRA) access regulations provide for access at certain times and under certain circumstances.  Our Access Cheat Sheet under the ALRA and Work Stoppages Cheat Sheet are attached for the immediate training needs of your supervisors.

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