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With special thanks to Teresa Michaud and Sara Pitt for contributing.

Revised Health Orders were handed down yesterday across the Bay Area (Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Santa Clara, San Francisco, San Mateo, and Berkeley Counties), intended to “clarify, strengthen, and extend” the terms of the prior shelter-in-place orders. Each supersedes its prior order, and provides that the county order is intended to implement more stringent county-level restrictions, to complement the “baseline statewide restrictions” set by Governor Newsom’s Executive Order. In addition, where a conflict exists between the county order and any state public health order, “the most restrictive provision controls,” unless the State Health Officer formally determines that a given provision is a public nuisance.

Under the new orders, “Essential Businesses” remain “strongly encouraged” to remain open, but should maximize the number of employees working from home, and may only require employees to work on-site if their duties cannot be performed from home.

Most importantly, the revised county orders require that businesses that include an essential component, along with non-essential components, must (to the extent feasible) scale down their operations to the essential business component only. In addition, “Essential Businesses must follow industry-specific guidance issued by the Health Officer related to COVID-19.”


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We hope that you, your families and colleagues are safe and doing well. We know these are difficult and challenging times for everyone, including US employers.  As always, we are here to help you navigate the complexities of our current — and quickly changing — environment.

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As a further update to our post here, on Thursday, the DOL issued an additional 22 FAQs on FFCRA, addressing required certifications for leave, healthcare coverage during leave, intermittent leave, teleworking, and several other topics. In a major and unexpected twist, DOL takes the position that FFCRA leave is not available if an employer

Predictions about the spread of COVID-19 through significant parts of the population and its effects on American life are staggering. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports more than 54,000 confirmed cases in the United States. As countries across the world implement new, extraordinary measures in an attempt to contain the coronavirus, which

Layoffs, reduced schedules, sick leave, and telecommuting—these are just a few of the issues that employers are navigating as they quickly adapt to the effects of the global pandemic. While moving full speed seems to be the only way to keep up with the rapidly-evolving landscape, companies should take a moment to ensure that they

Effective Friday, March 20, 2020, Governor Newsom imposed a California-wide Shelter-in-Place via Executive Order (“Executive Order”). This Executive Order comes on the heels of numerous shelter-in-place orders issued by individual counties and cities across the state in the past week. The Governor’s Executive Order requires all individuals living in California to stay home or at

As previously reported, effective Tuesday, March 17, 2020, San Francisco, Alameda, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Marin, and Contra Costa counties imposed Shelter-In-Place Orders (“SF Bay Area Orders”).  The SF Bay Area Orders require all individuals to shelter in place in their residences and businesses to cease all activities at facilities located within

Effective Tuesday, March 17, 2020, San Francisco, Alameda, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Marin, and Contra Costa counties imposed Shelter-In-Place Orders. These Orders require all individuals ordered to shelter in place in their residences and for businesses to cease all activities at facilities located within the listed counties and with certain exceptions for: (1) “Essential Businesses” (as defined by the Orders); and (2) “Minimum Basic Operations” for businesses that do not qualify as “Essential Businesses.” The Shelter-In-Place Orders currently remain in effect through April 7. At this time, Napa, Solano, and Sonoma counties have not issued similar mandates.

The intent of the Orders is to ensure the maximum number of people self-isolate in their places of residence to the maximum extent feasible, while enabling essential services to continue, and to slow the spread of Coronavirus (also known as COVID-19) to the maximum extent possible. Although each of the seven Bay Area counties issued a separate Order, the substantive terms of the Orders are the same.

What Businesses are Covered by the Orders?

All businesses with a facility in the above-listed counties, except for “Essential Businesses,” are covered by the Orders. The Orders list 21 categories of Essential Businesses, ranging from healthcare operations and hardware stores to businesses that ship or deliver goods directly to residences. Employees of Essential Businesses may perform travel to/from and related to the Essential Business. The full list of Essential Businesses may be found here:


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On February 10, 2020, United States District Judge Dolly M. Gee denied a motion for a preliminary injunction to enjoin California from enforcing Assembly Bill 5 (AB 5) against Postmates Inc. and Uber Technologies, Inc. Judge Gee concluded: “Plaintiffs have not shown serious questions going to the merits — the critical factor in determining whether to issue a preliminary injunction — and, though company plaintiffs have shown some measure of likelihood of irreparable harm, the balance of equities and the public interest weigh in favor of permitting the state to enforce this legislation.”

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2019 kept US employers on their toes. From intensifying scrutiny of independent contractor relationships, data privacy changes, and hostility to arbitration agreements to continued pressure to examine pay data, increasing employee activism and politically charged discourse in the workplace, it has been a busy year!

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