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Employers Must Still Follow Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Standards Despite Vaccinations

By  Matthew J. Roberts, Esq.  April 27, 2021

As California marches towards its June 15 reopening date, nearly half of its population has received a COVID-19 vaccination at this point. Many employers see the increased vaccine eligibility and supply as providing the opportunity to return employees to the workplace in some capacity. Complicating the issue is continually revised government guidelines from agencies such as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), specifically those concerning vaccinated individuals.

With all the evolving guidelines plus the media attention on them, employers are confused on which policies and procedures they should maintain for the workplace and whether they can have different rules for vaccinated employees versus non-vaccinated. Unfortunately for employers, the loosening government guidelines don’t impact workplace rules. In the workplace, employers must continue to follow the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards.

As previously reported, on November 30, 2020, Cal/OSHA implemented a complex set of workplace rules designed to prevent and mitigate COVID-19 infections in the workplace. The rules require employers to create and maintain a written COVID-19 Prevention Plan that provides workplace requirements for those employees reporting to a physical worksite. These requirements include subjects such as face covering rules, physical distancing, testing protocols and the circumstances when an employee must be excluded from the workplace due to an infection or being in close contact with an infected person.  Read More

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