August 10, 2021

Pascal Benyamini Explains COVID-19 Considerations for California Employers With SHRM

California has allowed local jurisdictions to enforce stricter pandemic-related safety rules. In “Do State Bans on Local Mask Mandates Apply to the Workplace?” labor and employment partner Pascal Benyamini spoke to The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) about current rules and recommendations, as well as tips for employers.

The rules will depend on the jurisdiction, explained Benyamini. “This is very fluid,” he said. “Almost every day — and sometimes several times a day — we are getting new information from local governments and states throughout the country.”

Even in jurisdictions that limit mask mandates, Benyamini noted, employers still have an obligation under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to provide safe work environments.

Generally, employers should follow the law that is most protective of employees, Benyamini said. The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) isn’t currently requiring indoor masking for fully vaccinated workers, but the agency allows jurisdictions to take more-restrictive measures.

For those jurisdictions that do not have requirements, Benyamini added, employers will have to look at the rate of infection, follow those numbers closely and determine what works best for their work environments. He also noted that an employer with a small number of employees reporting to the worksite might have different rules than a large employer with many employees working onsite in close quarters.

The full article is available for SHRM subscribers.

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