August 8, 2020

Volume X, Number 221

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California Statewide Stay at Home Order: What Employers Need to Know

On March 19, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom issued a mandatory “stay-at-home” order, directing all California residents to stay home or at their place of residence.  This order has taken immediate effect and is in place until further notice.

Violation of the order is a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine not to exceed $1,000 and up to six months imprisonment.  The order further directed the healthcare delivery system to prioritize service of the sickest and prioritize resources, including personal protective equipment, for direct care providers.

The exception to the stay at home order is to permit Californians working in federally designated “critical infrastructure” sectors to continue their work.  Those critical infrastructure sectors are detailed by the federal Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s (CISA) publication, Identifying Critical Infrastructure During Covid-19 and detailed further below.

Governor Newsom’s order provides that workers may continue to work “as needed to maintain continuity of operations” of the critical infrastructure sectors.  These 16 critical infrastructure sectors are

The order provides no further guidance to employers, however, the CISA issued a memo on March 19, 2020, identifying an initial list of “Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers” in each infrastructure sector.  The CISA cautioned that the list was advisory in nature and not a federal directive or standard in and of itself, deferring to state and local governments, but should be useful guidance until the State of California issues any further clarifications.

The order also stated that the supply chain must continue, and that Californians still needed access to necessities such as food, prescriptions, and health care.  Nevertheless, anytime people need to leave their homes or places of residence, whether to obtain necessities or work in critical infrastructure sectors, they must practice social distancing.

Copyright © 2020, Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP.National Law Review, Volume X, Number 80


About this Author

Brian Fong, Sheppard Mullin Law Firm, Labor and Employment Attorney

Brian S. Fong is an associate in the Labor and Employment Practice Group in the firm's San Francisco office.

Paul S. Cowie Partner Silicon Valley

Paul Cowie is the go-to employment class action/PAGA defense lawyer in the firm’s Silicon Valley office.  Recently recognized as a “Top 40 Under 40” California attorney by the Daily Journal (2018) and one of only 335 attorneys nationwide to receive the Client Service All-Star by BTI Consulting (2019), Paul is highly responsive and an expert in his field.  Paul serves as the Leader of the firm’s Transportation Team and has deep experience across many industries, including retail, technology, manufacturing, and transportation.  Paul manages a large team that defends employers in every type of employment dispute, including discrimination and harassment, independent contractors and the gig-economy, wrongful termination and whistleblower complaints, as well as trade secret litigation.  He is also a leader in Gamification to engage employees in the workplace.  Paul also has a special interest in cyber-security, data privacy, and social media and is a member of the firm’s multi-practice group industry teams for these specialties.

Paul manages dozens of class actions, related to all forms of wage & hour disputes, discrimination, as well as misclassification.  He counsels clients on all aspects of employment, including compliance, workplace investigations, workplace violence, protecting intellectual property, and founder disputes.  In addition, Paul has significant experience supporting M&A transactions and has worked closely with clients in structuring deals to minimize employment-related risks and to maximize the value of the transaction from an employment perspective.


Jason Kearnaghan, employment lawyer, Sheppard Mullin Law firm

Jason W. Kearnaghan is a partner in the Labor and Employment Practice Group in the firm's Los Angeles office.

Mr. Kearnaghan represents employers in state and federal courts with respect to all facets of employment law including wrongful discharge, employment discrimination, retaliation, sexual harassment, and hostile work environment.  A significant portion of his practice is devoted to the defense of complex wage and hour class action litigation.  He has experience representing employers in union negotiations, organizing campaigns, elections,...