Posts from July 2020.
CalSaver Deadline Approaches for Large Companies to Register or Certify as Exempt

By September 30, 2020, all California companies with more than 100 employees must register with the CalSavers Retirement Savings Program (CalSavers) or certify that they are exempt.

Employers without employer retirement plans must register to begin offering the state-mandated employer retirement plan to their employees.  Those employers offering retirement plans to their employees need only certify as exempt.  

The link to the CalSaver website to register or certify as exempt is here.

Smaller employers have phased-in deadlines to register or certify as exempt. Employers with ...

Los Angeles County Proposes that Employees Report COVID-19 Violations through Public Health Commissions

On July 21, 2020, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a motion to enforce the monitoring of compliance with County health orders by encouraging workers to directly report health code violations through employee “public health councils.” Supervisors Sheila Kuehl and Mark Ridley-Thomas co-authored the motion, which could have a significant impact by placing employees, rather than public health inspectors, at the front lines of enforcing public health orders.

The Board noted that workplace transmission has been a significant factor contributing to the ...

Posted in Legal Bites
New Outdoor Dining Permits Available for LA County Restaurants

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Works recently released information about its COVID-19 Temporary Outdoor Dining Program. The program is designed for restaurants in unincorporated Los Angeles County that are interested in temporarily expanding dining seating into private walkway and parking lots. More than 2,653.5 square miles or 65 percent of Los Angeles County is unincorporated.

The Department provides streamlined applications for restaurants interested in offering dining services on a public sidewalk, in the on-street parking area, in a public alley, or on a ...

Posted in Legal Bites
Your Food Delivery Worker May Soon Be Certified

On July 21, 2020, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors announced that it would be considering a county-wide requirement for food delivery workers to obtain a food handler certification. The Board noted that food delivery network companies, including Instacart and Uber Eats, are essential businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, and they rely on independent gig workers. 

The Motion, put forward by Supervisors Hilda Solis and Sheila Kuehl, sought more information on the feasibility and costs of requiring these workers to obtain a food handler certification in order to ...

Posted in Legal Bites
Grocery Stores and Restaurants Taking a Bite Out of Climate Change and Food Waste

Save the planet and feed the children? No, these are not the aspirations of a beauty contestant but the objective of legislation that was passed in the Golden State.  In 2016, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law SB 1383. The law is designed to fight climate change by aiming to reduce methane gas emissions produced by organic waste in landfills by 75 percent by 2025.  The law provides regulation changes necessary to reduce food waste by implementing programs to recover food that would otherwise be thrown away and getting it to organizations that help fight hunger.  The target aims to recover ...

U.S. Department of Labor Issues New Model COBRA Notices and Extends COBRA Deadlines

The United States Department of Labor (DOL) issued new model COBRA Notices primarily to highlight that an individual may enroll in Medicare instead of COBRA continuation coverage after his or her group health plan coverage ends. The new COBRA model notices point out that it may be advantageous to enroll in Medicare before, or instead of, electing COBRA. They also explain that if an individual is eligible for both COBRA and Medicare, electing COBRA coverage may impact enrollment into Medicare as well as certain costs to the individual. 

The model general notice for single-employer ...

Posted in Legal Bites
Quick Service Restaurants Required to Make Composting/Recycling Bins Available to Customers for Food Waste

On July 1, 2020, a 2019 California law requiring restaurants, malls and other businesses to make composting and recycling bins accessible to customers officially went into effect. Full-service restaurants are exempt from the bill if employees sort organic waste. However, quick or limited-service restaurants and all other businesses that generate organic waste and subscribe to recycling or composting services must make bins accessible to customers.

Assembly Bill 827 mandates that businesses that are already required to subscribe to recycling or composting services under ...

Posted in Legal Bites
California’s Single-Use Plastic Bag Ban Is Back

Governor Gavin Newsom’s temporary suspension of California’s ban on single-use plastic bags at grocery stores was allowed to expire, effectively fully reinstating the ban and requiring grocery stores to charge customers at least 10 cents a bag for plastic bags, and to permit customers to bring reusable bags. 

Newsom issued an executive order on April 22, 2020 to suspend the state’s 2016 plastic bag ban for 60 days based on concerns about the COVID-19 virus spreading from shoppers bringing reusable bags into grocery stores. The order expired on June 22, 2020. 

The order suspended ...

Posted in Legal Bites
California Closes Bars and Indoor Dining Statewide

On July 13, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom announced that restaurants across the state must cease indoor operations.  All bars, both indoor and outdoor, are ordered to close statewide. Restaurants may continue to offer outdoor dining and takeout.  Additionally, all indoor operations at wineries and tasting rooms are ordered to cease. Previously, indoor dining and bars were closed in many of the state’s most populous counties, including Los Angeles.

In addition to restaurants, the state is ordering thirty counties to close indoor operations at fitness centers, malls, offices for ...

California Issues Guidance For Restaurants Providing Outdoor Dining, Takeout, Drive-Through and Delivery 

Adding to an already impressive list of industry specific guidelines, the California Department of Health and the Department of Industrial Relations/Cal-OSHA have issued an Industry Guidance for Restaurants Providing Outdoor Dining, Takeout, Drive-Through, and Delivery. Restaurants are instructed to consult the COVID-19 County Roadmap for more information on reopening in particular counties within the state. In addition, the guidance reminds all business owners that the guidance is not dispositive and that other state and local health orders and guidelines may apply ...

Reopening Rollback!

On July 13, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom announced a significant rollback of California’s reopening and ordered 30 of the most populous counties in the state to cease indoor operations. The order includes closing indoor operations at malls, offices for non-critical sectors, places of worships, hair salons, fitness centers and personal care services. The affected counties as of July 13, 2020 include Los Angeles, San Diego, Ventura, Santa Barbara and Orange. A full list is available here

Additionally, Newsom issued a statewide order closing indoor operations for restaurants ...

Posted in Legal Bites
LA County Cracks Down on Restaurants Violating COVID-19 Health Orders

On July 7, 2020, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors passed a motion to fine LA County businesses, including restaurants, for violations of COVID-19 public health orders, and to shut businesses down for non-compliance in as little as two health inspector visits. The motion was proposed by Supervisors Shelia Kuehl and Janice Hahn. 

In explaining the urgency of passing the motion, the proposal states: “on the weekend of June 27-28, inspectors found that 49% of bars and 33% of restaurants were not adhering to physical distancing protocols indoors and that 54% of bars and 44% of ...

Posted in Legal Bites
FTC Issues Proposed Rule for Made in USA Labeling

On June 22, 2020, the Federal Trade Commission issued a proposed Made in USA Rule regarding when businesses can advertise that their products are made in the U.S., and giving the agency discretion to impose civil penalties.  The proposed rule has not yet been published in the Federal Register, but the agency has invited businesses to file public comments regarding their feedback.

Under the Rule, advertisers would be prohibited from making unqualified Made in USA claims unless the following three factors are met.  First, final assembly or processing of the product occurs in the United ...

Posted in Legal Bites
California Orders Restaurants to Halt Indoor Dining

On July 1, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom ordered restaurants in nineteen California counties, including Los Angeles County, to cease indoor operations for at least three weeks, until July 22, 2020.

The nineteen counties affected by the Governor’s order represent 70% of the California population. They are Contra Costa, Fresno, Glenn, Imperial, Kern, Kings, Los Angeles, Merced, Orange, Riverside, Sacramento, San Bernardino, San Joaquin, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Solano, Stanislaus, Tulare and Ventura counties.

In addition to restaurants, the order requires that wineries ...

Governor Newsom Closes Indoor Dining in Los Angeles County and 18 Other Counties

In his press conference today, July 1, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom ordered restaurants in Los Angeles County and 18 other CA counties to cease indoor dining operations for at least the next 3 weeks. The order was in response to a large increase in COVID-19 positivity and hospitalizations in these counties.

Restaurants may remain open for outdoor dining, pick-up or delivery. On Sunday, June 28th, the State also ordered bars to close in Los Angeles and 6 other counties.

In addition to indoor dining, wineries and tasting rooms, movie theaters, indoor family entertainment businesses ...

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