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Learn About Sacramento, California's Worker Protection, Health, and Safety Act

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Content Courtesy of Littler

By: Kayla Cox and Bruce Sarchet

On June 30, 2020, the Sacramento City Council enacted the Sacramento Worker Protection, Health, and Safety Act. This ordinance, which becomes operative on July 15 and sunsets on December 31, 2020,1 addresses various workplace concerns in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The ordinance has six particularly notable provisions: 1) Employer Safety Practices and Protocols, 2) Right to Refuse Work Under Certain Circumstances, 3) Supplemental Paid Sick Leave, 4) Enforcement, 5) Conditions on City Financial Assistance, and 6) No Waiver of Rights. Each of these provisions are discussed below.

Employer Safety Practices and Protocols: Under this provision, covered employers are required to implement specific safety practices and protocols at employment sites: 

  1. Daily cleaning and disinfection of high-touch areas in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines;
  2. Formalized cleaning protocols for all other areas of an employment site;
  3. Formalized protocols for responding to the discovery that a person with a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19 has been at the employment site;
  4. Ensuring employees have access to regular handwashing with soap, hand sanitizer, and disinfectant wipes;
  5. Cleaning of common areas (e.g., break rooms, locker rooms, dining facilities, restrooms, conference rooms, and training rooms) daily and between shifts;
  6. Providing face coverings for employees to wear during their time at the employment site, mandating the use of face coverings while at the employment site in accordance with the CDC guidelines and subject to exceptions, and establishing protocols to ensure proper physical distancing; and
  7. Providing employees with written notice of these required practices and protocols in English and any other language spoken by at least 10 percent of the employees at the employment site.
For employees working at sites that are not owned, maintained, leased, or controlled by their employer, an employer is not in violation of requirements 1, 2, and/or 5 if it takes steps to contact the entity that owns, maintains, leases, or controls the site and encourages compliance with the required safety practices and protocols.

Right to Refuse Work Under Certain Circumstances: An employee may refuse to work for an employer if the employee reasonably believes that the employer is in violation of one or more of the seven specified safety practices and protocols listed above, and provides the employer with notice of the alleged violation(s).

Additionally, the city may investigate whether an employer violated a required safety practice or protocol, as alleged by an employee. If after conducting its investigation, however, the city finds that the employer was not in violation of a required safety practice or protocol, or if the employer provides the city with proof that it has cured the violation, the employee who made the allegation no longer has the right to refuse to work. Read the rest of the article here.