Tag: COVID-19

Business legal services in Silicon Valley

Best Practices for Navigating Changing COVID Laws for Businesses

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The COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect communities around the world. According to data from the California Department of Public Health, there have been more than 4.1 million cases of the virus confirmed in the state as of mid-August of 2021—and with the Delta variant, case rates are rising once again. For businesses, navigating the ever-changing regulatory environment during the pandemic is challenging. Here, our Fremont, CA business lawyer highlights some of the best practices for companies looking to navigate COVID-19 regulations in the Bay Area.

Do Your Research (Local Law Matters)

You need to stay up-to-date on all applicable laws. Indeed, the only truly effective way for businesses to navigate the changing COVID-19 legal landscape is to work with an experienced business lawyer or do frequent independent research into the relevant rules and regulations. Notably, it is imperative that business owners refer not just to federal and state guidelines, but also to local rules and ordinances.

In California, the regulations sometimes vary from city to city or county to county. Here is an example: On August 2nd, 2021, Cal/OSHA released new guidance on masks. Under the statewide public health regulations, facial coverings are required in certain places, such as healthcare settings. For vaccinated people, masks are only “recommended” in most indoor workplace settings. However, some local governments have different requirements. For example, on August 3rd, 2021, the Alameda County Health Care Services Agency reinstated a full indoor mask mandate—regardless of vaccination status. Make sure you know the rules in your area.

Implement a Process for COVID-19 Planning/Rapid Decision-Making

As the COVID-19 outbreak is still a developing public health crisis, it is crucial that businesses in the Bay Area build and implement a process for pandemic planning and rapid decision making. Keep in mind that things can change quickly. Several factors are subject to change, including masking rules, vaccine regulations, social distancing guidelines, and capacity restrictions. A well-developed plan can make navigating the pandemic far easier. Among other things, your business should have:

  • A plan designed to meet your unique needs/industry
  • A proactive mindset, always ready to address changing rules
  • A clear chain of command to ensure swift and decisive decisions when necessary

Be Ready to Seek Professional Guidance on COVID Regulations

Owning and operating a business is difficult enough during normal times. With the COVID-19 pandemic posing a wide range of challenges on businesses in the Bay Area, it has become even more complicated. You should not hesitate to consult with an experienced California business lawyer who can help you and your partners manage the pandemic.

Schedule a Confidential Consultation with a Bay Area Business Lawyer

Attorney Lynnette Ariathurai is a skilled, solutions-focused advocate for business owners. If you have any questions about the best practices for navigating changing COVID-19 laws, our law firm can help. Contact us today for a strictly confidential consultation. From our Fremont law office, we represent businesses throughout the Bay Area, including in Hayward, Union City, Castro Valley, Milpitas, and Newark.

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Business legal services in Silicon Valley

Preparing Your Business for Bringing Employees Back to the Office in California

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According to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), more than 20 million state residents were fully vaccinated as of July 1st, 2021. With vaccinations rising and COVID-19 cases dropping, more and more employers are getting ready to bring their remote staff back into the office. It is a complicated thing to do—sorting everything out requires careful planning. Here, our Fremont, CA employment law attorney for employers highlights some of the key things to know about preparing your California business to bring employees back to the office.

Follow State and Federal Public Health Guidelines

As a starting point, business owners and managers should keep up with changing federal, state, and local public health & safety guidelines. For example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has provided a considerable amount of guidance for employers and employees. As an employer preparing to bring workers back into the office, you need to be ready to answer some key questions, such as:

  • Will you ask employees to show proof of vaccination status?
  • Will there be any masking or social distancing policies in place?
  • Do employees have the option to remain on a full or partial flex schedule?
  • What steps will you take if an employee tests positive for COVID-19?

Know the Unique Needs of Your Workplace

Every workplace is different. It is crucial that business owners consider the unique needs of their company. Among other things, this means taking proactive steps to adapt the physical workspace for the return of employees. In California, companies are using a wide range of strategies to prepare for the return of remote workers. Some companies are putting an emphasis on ventilation and sanitization. Other businesses are opting to reopen at partial capacity—allowing some employees to continue work remotely either full-time or part-time.

Getting Legal Advice on COVID-19 Laws

Before you bring your employees back to the office, you should seek legal advice concerning the current COVID-19 federal, state, county and city laws that apply to your business. Some questions you may have are:

  • What protocols must I follow at the workplace for my industry?
  • Can I require employees to be vaccinated before returning?
  • Can I terminate an employee who refuses to come back to the office?
  • Am I required to reasonably accommodate an employee and allow some employees to work from home and require others to work at the office?

The answer to each of those questions may depend on what industry you are in and what city, county, and state that your business resides in. The laws are complicated and continually changing, but you can rely on us for timely, accurate counsel.

Effective, Open Communication with Employees is Key

As employers in California bring their staff back to the workplace, it is important to develop clear, well-articulated policies. Open communication between businesses and employees can go a long way towards reducing conflicts. Employers may also benefit from adopting a more flexible approach that allows for a gradual return to the workplace for many workers. Of course, consistency and clarity are important. At the same time, that does not mean that every employee is dealing with the same issues. There may be some circumstances in which companies are required to make accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or other state/federal labor regulations.

Get Help from a Business Law Attorney in Fremont, California

Attorney Lynette Ariathurai is an experienced employment law attorney for employers. If you have any questions or concerns about preparing your California company for bringing workers back to the office, our law firm can help.

Contact us now to arrange a confidential appointment with an attorney. From our Fremont law office, our law firm represents employers throughout the region, including in the San Francisco Bay area and Silicon Valley.

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