Stokes Wagner Law Firm
Stokes Wagner

Los Angeles County will require proof of vaccination for customers and employees at indoor bars, wineries, breweries, nightclubs, and lounges. Under the order, customers and employees at indoor nightlife establishments will need to have at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by October 7 and receive the second dose by November 4, 2021. The order will strongly recommend (but fall short of requiring) vaccine verification for indoor restaurants.

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On September 15, 2021, the Ninth Circuit lifted an injunction and mostly upheld a California law, known as Assembly Bill 51 (“AB-51”), that prohibits mandatory arbitration agreements. AB-51 invalidates mandatory arbitration agreements that are a condition of employment, including mandatory agreements that allow an employee to “opt-out” of the arbitration provisions.

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Employers may legally require their employees be vaccinated. Consistent with California’s FEHA, all employers with five or more employees have an affirmative duty to make a reasonable accommodation for any employee with a disability or sincerely-held religious belief. Employers must engage in a good faith, interactive process with employees in these situations. One such accommodation may be to require routine COVID-19 testing in lieu of vaccination.

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Yesterday, President Joe Biden announced new vaccine requirements for federal and private sector workers in an effort to increase COVID-19 vaccinations and curb the ongoing spread of the delta variant.

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Earlier this month, the City of San Francisco revised its “Safer Return Together” Health Order to require restaurants (indoor dining), bars, clubs, gyms, and large indoor events to obtain proof of vaccination from patrons and employees.

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Florida Governor Rick DeSantis has issued a statement that the State of Florida will appeal a recent preliminary injunction granted by US District Judge Kathleen Williams blocking the State from enforcing a recent law banning “vaccine passports” against Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings.

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On August 11, 2021, the Los Angeles City Council voted to instruct City Attorney Mike Feuer to draft an ordinance that requires customers to show proof of receiving at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine prior to entering indoor public spaces. The ordinance would apply to restaurants, bars, retail stores, fitness centers, spas and entertainment facilities such as stadiums, concert venues and movie theatres.

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On August 2, 2021, the City Council of West Hollywood approved a Hotel Worker Ordinance, which establishes additional protections for hotel workers in the City of West Hollywood. The ordinance includes provisions on the use of personal security devices, workload limitations based on square footage, right to recall, and hotel worker retention. The ordinance also includes novel provisions such as the creation of a “Public Housekeeping Training Organization” and financial hardship waivers.

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The Affordable Care Act requires covered employers to report that they offered minimum essential coverage to their employees by filing IRS Forms 1094-C and 1095-C. Until recently, the IRS offered “good-faith transition relief,” which allowed businesses to avoid penalties related to the submission of incorrect or incomplete information in Form 1094-C and 1095-C filings, including missing or incorrect Taxpayer Identification Numbers (TINs), dates of birth, and other vital information. Under that policy, a business that submitted forms containing any incorrect or incomplete information could avoid penalties simply by demonstrating to the IRS that it had made a “good-faith” effort to comply with ACA regulations when furnishing the forms to individuals and filing with the IRS.

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As California and the U.S. enjoy a surge in the travel industry again, the newly codified Labor Code section 2810.8 sets forth the obligations of California employers with regard to the recall of laid-off employees in many hospitality positions. The new law took effect on April 16, 2021 and expires on December 31, 2024.

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