Can California Employers Mandate COVID-19 Vaccine?

The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) has updated its COVID-19 FAQs and has issued its long-awaited guidance regarding employers mandating COVID-19 vaccines.

As a preliminary matter, the DFEH explained that it is not providing guidance on whether or to what extent an employer should mandate vaccination within its workforce. Rather, the DFEH stated that its guidance/FAQs are to address how employers comply with the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) if employers require employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 with an FDA-approved vaccine.

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California Employers: New Poster to be Posted April 1, 2016

By Pascal Benyamini

Did you recently update your workplace posters? Time to do it again.

In California, all employers have obligations to satisfy workplace posting, such as posting information related to wages, hours and working conditions. The workplace posters must be placed in an area frequented by employees where these posters may be easily read during the workday.

As a result of new amended regulations pertaining to the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) going into effect on April 1, 2016, certain covered employers must post a new poster on April 1, 2016. Employers with 5 or more employees (full-time or part-time) are covered by the FEHA and must post a specific notice, which replaces Pregnancy Disability Leave (“PDL”) Notice A. This new poster, titled “Your Rights and Obligations as a Pregnant Employee,” provides clarifications of the PDL, including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Eligible employees are entitled up to four months of leave per pregnancy, and not per year;
  • The four months means the working days the employee would normally work in one-third of a year or 17 1/3 weeks; and
  • PDL does not need to be taken all at once, but can be taken on an as-needed basis as required by the employee’s health care provider.

For a copy of this poster, click here.

Under the California Code of Regulations, “[a]ny FEHA-covered employer whose work force at any facility or establishment is comprised of 10% or more persons whose spoken language is not English shall translate the notice into every language that is spoken by at least 10 percent of the workforce.”  The Spanish version of the foregoing notice should be available soon at http://www.dfeh.ca.gov/Publications_Publications.htm.

Any time employers are required to update their posters and/or new (or amended) regulations are issued, employers should take the opportunity to ensure their workplace posters and their employee handbooks and policies are up to date and compliant.

For further information, please contact the author or any member of our Labor and Employment Practice Group.