October 23, 2021

Volume XI, Number 296

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October 22, 2021

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October 21, 2021

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Santa Clara County’s New COVID-19 Rules: Employers Must Obtain Vaccination Status, Report Positive Test Results, and Enforce Mask Use

On May 18, 2021, Santa Clara County, California, issued a health order that both relieves employers of some earlier COVID-19–related requirements and imposes new obligations on employers, particularly with respect to employees’ vaccination status. Santa Clara County also issued the “Mandatory Directive on Use of Face Coverings” and the “Mandatory Directive For Unvaccinated Personnel.” The health order and mandatory directives take effect on May 19, 2021.

The health order’s and directives’ new employer obligations include the following:

Determine the vaccination status of employees

All employers are required to obtain and record the vaccination status of all employees by June 1, 2021. The records may consist of an employee’s vaccination card or self-certification of full vaccination. Employers must ask unvaccinated employees about their status every 14 days. Employees who decline to respond “must … be treated as unvaccinated.”

Positive employees must inform their employers

Each employer must instruct employees to report their positive status to the employer if they worked on-site during the infectious period.

Report positive cases to the county public health department

Within 24 hours of learning of a positive case on-site, an employer must report the information to the Santa Clara County Public Health Department.

Enforce mask rules for unvaccinated employees

Employers must enforce mask rules for all unvaccinated employees.

According to the Santa Clara Public Health Department’s frequently asked questions (FAQs) web page regarding the order and directives, employers are no longer required to maximize telework or “submit Social Distancing Protocols to the County Public Health Department.”

The FAQs also state that Santa Clara County has eliminated the local “Mandatory Directive on Capacity Limitations.”

Employer COVID-19–related mandates and guidances likely will change rapidly at the federal, state, and local levels. As the Santa Clara County health order emphasizes, employers must follow the strictest of the orders.

© 2021, Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C., All Rights Reserved.National Law Review, Volume XI, Number 140
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About this Author

Charles Thompson, Ogletree Deakins Law Firm, Employment Law Attorney
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Charles L. Thompson IV counsels and defends employers in wrongful termination, discrimination, and other employment-related matters.  These areas include trade secrets and unfair competition, California and federal leaves of absence, ADA compliance, and wage and hour compliance.

Charles also represents employers in traditional labor law matters. He advises and represents employers in collective bargaining. He also represents employers in matters before the National Labor Relations Board, including in unfair labor practice and representation...

415-536-3430
Leslie E. Wallis Employment Attorney Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart Los Angeles, CA
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Leslie Wallis has represented employers in all aspects of employment law. Leslie joined Ogletree Deakins in 2007 as part of the merger of Ogletree Deakins and Lewis Fisher Henderson & Claxton, a labor and employment law firm with offices in Tennessee, Mississippi and California. Leslie also served as in-house counsel at a financial institution representing the bank in a broad range of litigation matters, including trial work as well as monitoring outside counsel for the bank as both plaintiff and defendant in breach of contract, real property disputes, commercial transactions,...

213-438-5843
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