Buchalter COVID-19 Client Alert: Cal-OSHA Wins First Round in Major Court Challenge to its COVID-19 Emergency Regulation

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Cal-OSHA’s COVID-19 regulation remains in effect after the trial court rejected a motion for a preliminary injunction filed by a coalition of employers. This included challenges to: (1) compensation for employees excluded from work; (2) mandated testing; and (3) health and safety requirements for employer-provided housing and transportation.

Therefore, employers must continue to abide by the requirements of the emergency regulation.

In its 39-page ruling, the court noted that the regulation’s continuing compensation requirement applies only to employees who are “otherwise able and available to work.” If an employee must be excluded for longer than a 14-day quarantine period, the employer would not be required to keep paying wages and benefits. The court also noted that employers may offset any required payments by amounts employees receive in related benefit payments.

The court also concluded that Cal-OSHA may regulate employer-provided housing and transportation to ensure employee safety and health.

Written comments on the regulation may be submitted to the Cal-OSHA Standards Board as the agency moves to formally adopt the regulation in a 6-month process that results in a “Certificate of Compliance.”

https://oal.ca.gov/emergency_regulations/emergency_regulation_process/

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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