Can California Businesses Require Covid Vaccines?

If the firefighter performs emergency medical services (EMS) tasks, such as those of a paramedic, emergency medical technician, or first aid, or if the firefighter provides support in the field to those performing EMS tasks, the firefighter has occupational exposure to ATDs as defined in section 5199 and is therefore covered by the section 5199, not by the ETS. This is true even when the firefighter performs tasks that do not necessarily involve possible exposure to ATDs, such as responding to non-EMS calls and otherwise traveling in fire department vehicles; performing routine tasks such as training and maintenance; and participating in normal fire routines season, including meals and sleep. Section 5199 (e) requires employers to use feasible engineering and labor practice controls to minimize employee exposure to transmissible aerosol pathogens (ATP). This includes implementing COVID-19 protections in fire department vehicles and facilities, such as improving ventilation, physical distancing, and wearing masks in accordance with CDPH requirements, including facility bedrooms and other common areas.

Under section 5199 (h) (- (), covered employers must implement specific tracking requirements in case an employee is exposed to ATP. This includes fire departments when firefighters are potentially exposed to COVID-19, regardless of the source of exposure. If a firefighter is not identified as having occupational exposure to ATD in the employer's ATD Prevention Plan, or if a firefighter is not protected by that plan, the firefighter would be subject to the ETS. There can be both large interior spaces and smaller spaces inside them.

Employers with large indoor spaces and smaller indoor spaces within large indoor spaces should evaluate close contacts in both types of spaces. For example, in an open-plan office or warehouse (large indoor space) with a bathroom and a rest area (smaller spaces), the employer should evaluate both types of spaces to determine who had close contact. Employers must provide and ensure the use of face coverings during breakouts and major outbreaks. Employers must provide and ensure the use of face coverings when employees return to work after having had COVID-19 or having had close contact.

See the CDPH Isolation and Quarantine Guide section of these FAQs. In addition, employees can request face coverings from the employer at no cost to the employee and can wear them on the job, regardless of vaccination status, without fear of retaliation, as specified in section 3205 (c) ((J). Conversely, a workplace does not include the building, store, facility, farm field, floor, suite, or room where a COVID-19 case was not entered during the infectious period. For COVID-19 cases who test positive but never develop symptoms of COVID-19, the infectious period is from two days before to ten days after the sample was collected for your first positive COVID-19 test.

The definition of an infectious period will change if CDPH changes its definition in a regulation or order. Employees who have received disability payments or are covered by workers' compensation benefits and have received temporary disability payments are not eligible for the exclusion payment. Requests should not be made in anticipation of a future outbreak. For employees who had close contact, employers should review the CPDH guidance and implement quarantine and other measures to prevent transmission of COVID-19 in the workplace.

See Table 2 and Table 3 below for guidance on CDPH quarantine after close contact. When the tables refer to the measures that would be taken on a given day (for example,. day 5 or day 1), day 1 is the first day after the onset of symptoms or, if no symptoms occur, the day after the first positive test.


A fever is a measured body temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.


Fever resolves when 24 hours have passed without fever, without the use of fever-reducing medications.

In addition to the above, pursuant to section 3205 (c) ((E), when a local or state health official issues an order to isolate, quarantine, or exclude an employee, the employee will not return to work until the isolation or quarantine period is completed or the order is lifted, even if the order exceeds the requirements of exclusion specified in the ETS or CDPH recommendation. Now that COVID-19 vaccines are gradually being rolled out, employers are wondering if they can (and should) require employees to get vaccinated and are considering what they can do if employees refuse. Recorded Webinar on COVID-19 Vaccination Policies Given the complexity of navigating federal and state laws, MOUs, personnel policies, and practical considerations, employers should consult legal counsel before creating and implementing a mandatory or voluntary vaccination policy. Our labor and employment law attorneys help California employers with all legal issues related to COVID-19 vaccines.

Our team hosted a webinar on Feb. 3 to address the myriad issues of COVID-19 vaccination, including how employers can meet EEOC requirements, increase workplace safety, and minimize potential liability risks associated with vaccine mandates or incentives for employees. In its most recent guide, the U. S.

UU. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) made clear that an employer can order employees to be vaccinated and keep unvaccinated employees out of the workplace if the employer determines that the unvaccinated employee represents a “direct threat” due to a “significant risk of substantial harm to the health or safety of the person or other persons that cannot be eliminated or reduced by reasonable accommodation. At the same time, employers must still provide reasonable accommodations and participate in an interactive process with employees who have disabilities and cannot get vaccinated or those with sincere religious beliefs against vaccination. For employees with labor rights for cause, employers must comply with due process before taking corrective action against employees as a result of refusal to be vaccinated.

Because this is an area of law that has not been tested yet, employers should consult with legal counsel before considering corrective action.

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