Employment Law Bulletin | March 17, 2020 (COVID-19)

COVID-19 and the Workplace – SMT Employment Law Attorneys Are Available to Help

In these unprecedented times with new information being published multiple times a day, many of our clients have questions about the effect COVID-19 has on their workplace and their employees including:

  • remote work arrangements, rules and guidelines
  • dealing with employees who come to work ill, have been exposed to the virus, or have traveled outside the country
  • managing paid and unpaid time to preserve exempt status for exempt employees
  • use of employee sick leave and other paid time off benefits
  • continuation of health insurance and collection of employee premium copays during shutdowns
  • reductions in business hours and temporary layoffs
  • interpretation and ramifications of shelter in place orders
  • SMT employment law attorneys will work with you to develop the best options that work for your business. We are in the
  • office or working remotely and are available by phone, email or videoconference. Please call on us if you need help.

Lisa Ann Hilario


Bay Area Counties Issue Three Week Shelter In Place Orders

On March 16, 2020, seven Bay Area counties and one city issued public health orders requiring people to shelter at home except for “essential activities” from March 17, 2020 through April 7, 2020 to contain the spread of COVID-19. Sonoma, Napa and Lake counties have not yet issued shelter in place orders, but we encourage you to prepare for that event.

The seven Bay Area counties and one city are listed below with web site addresses where you can find the orders and in some cases, a list of frequently asked questions and responses:

The Orders limit activity, travel and business functions to only the most “essential activities.”

Examples of “essential activities” for which individuals may leave their home include activities:

  • essential to health and safety
  • to obtain necessary services or supplies
  • to engage in outdoor activities (provided social distancing requirements are followed)
  • to perform work providing essential products and services at an “Essential Business”
  • to care for a family member or pet in another household.
  • Residents must work from home, and may only leave their residence to provide services or perform work necessary to the
  • operations and maintenance of “Essential Infrastructure.”

Examples of Essential Businesses that will remain open under the current orders include:

  • City/County government services: Police stations, fire stations, hospitals/clinics and healthcare operations, jails, courts, garbage/sanitation, public transportation, utilities, and certain city offices.
  • Gas stations
  • Pharmacies
  • Food: Grocery stores, farmers markets, food banks, convenience stores, take-out and delivery restaurants
  • Hardware stores/plumbers
  • Banks
  • Community benefit organizations on a case-by-case basis
  • Laundromats/laundry services

Contact an SMT employment attorney if you have questions or need guidance.

Lisa Ann Hilario

No Se Habla Español?

SMT’s employment attorneys can provide your company with employment policies, forms and employee disciplinary documentation in Spanish. Providing such important information to employees in the language they understand is critical to employee performance, providing a welcoming diverse work environment, and protecting your company against employment claims. Contact an SMT attorney today to get started.

Spaulding McCullough & Tansil LLP
Employment Law Group

Jan Gabrielson Tansil  | Lisa Ann Hilario | Kari Brown