June 16, 2021

Volume XI, Number 167

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Without Much Ado, Cal OSHA Updates Guidance Regarding Vaccinated Individuals

As the federal government and state of California adjusted their COVID-19 guidance for vaccinated individuals, Cal OSHA remained silent on how vaccination affected the requirements under its COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS). While there had been discussions of revisions to the ETS, it was unclear if Cal OSHA would be able to release such revisions prior to the targeted reopening of California by June 15, 2021.

Last week Cal OSHA updated its guidance on how the ETS mandatory exclusion requirements should be applied to fully vaccinated individuals. Under the guidance, employees who are not fully vaccinated must be excluded from the work site if:

  • The employee is positive for COVID-19, or

  • The employee had a COVID-19 exposure, whether symptomatic or asymptomatic.

As revised, the guidance now provides that a fully vaccinated employee who was exposed to COVID-19 does not have to be excluded from the workplace or quarantine, provided the employee is asymptomatic. If the fully vaccinated employee tests positive for COVID-19 or exhibits COVID-19 symptoms, the employee must be excluded from the worksite.  The agency made this change based on the State of California’s Department of Public Health’s May 3rd guidance, which relieves fully vaccinated individuals from having to quarantine if they do not develop symptoms.

That said, Cal OSHA’s guidance has not relaxed any other precautions under the ETS, like mandatory employee face coverings, social distancing, cleaning and disinfection measures, and testing requirements. Cal OSHA, in fact, expects these preventive measures to remain in place for both unvaccinated and fully vaccinated individuals in the workplace.

Employers should review Cal OSHA’s revised guidance on the ETS as well as watch for frequent updates from Cal OSHA on workplace safety expectations. Cal OSHA is expected to revise the ETS in the coming weeks and release more guidance as employers start working towards the state’s reopening date on June 15, 2021.

Jackson Lewis P.C. © 2021National Law Review, Volume XI, Number 131
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About this Author

Cressinda Schlag Environmental Health Lawyer Jackson Lewis Austin
Associate

Cressinda (“Chris”) D. Schlag is an associate in the Austin, Texas, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. Her practice focuses on environmental health and safety matters involving legal and regulatory compliance as well as federal and state government enforcement actions.

Before becoming an attorney, Ms. Schlag obtained a graduate degree in occupational health and safety and environmental management and worked as an environmental health and safety engineer and consultant with a variety of industries, including, for example, oil and gas, chemicals manufacturing and...

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Sierra Vierra, Jackson Lewis Law Firm, Sacramento, Labor and Employment Litigation Attorney
Associate

Sierra Vierra is an Associate in the Sacramento, California, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. She represents management in civil litigation and administrative proceedings involving employment law matters, including discrimination, harassment, retaliation, wrongful termination, benefits, and a wide range of wage and hour issues. She litigates in federal and state courts, including class and representative actions, and represents employers in administrative proceedings. She also provides preventive advice and counsel on best practices.

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