California Superior Court Judge Ethan Schulman denied the request for temporary injunctions against Cal/OSHA’s COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS). The judge rejected all of the arguments by the plaintiffs, led by the National Retail Federation and a statewide Agricultural Coalition.
The groups challenged the ETS on several grounds, including that the Cal/OSHA Standards Board did not go through the formal public comment process, that it lacked the authority to adopt certain parts of the regulation such as employee wages, transportation, testing, and employee housing, and that the regulation violates employers’ due process rights.
It is unknown at this time if an appeal will occur by the business plaintiff groups.
On November 19, the Cal/OSHA Standards Board unanimously adopted the ETS on workplace safety related to COVID-19. The emergency regulation went into effect on November 30, and stays in effect for 180 days, which at that point Cal/OSHA will readopt it or go through the full regulatory process.
The regulation is for all employers with more than one employee that does not work from home or has no contact with other individuals. The regulation has significant impacts to H-2A employee housing and transportation, testing, and paid leave-time compensation.
Link to the updated Cal/OSHA FAQ:
Link to the Standards Board COVID-19 Emergency Regulation: