Meal and Rest Periods for Public Healthcare Workers Now Guaranteed

Healthcare workers are experiencing a significant amount of occupational fatigue, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Expecting nurses to work lengthy shifts without the chance to eat a meal or rest leads to exhaustion and can increase the likelihood of medical errors. State senator Steven Bradford authored SB 1334, which sought to guarantee meal and rest periods for public healthcare workers. The bill was sponsored by the California Nurses Association (“CNA”), which has 100,000 members in more than 200 facilities throughout California. On September 29, 2022, Governor Newsom signed SB 1334 into law, which adds section 512.1 to the California Labor Code.

Katie A. Collins in Law360: Employer Duties As Pandemic, Caregiver Law Evolve

This article was first published on Law360 on July 11, 2022.  Reprinted by permission.

For many of us, the pandemic has changed where we work, how we work and the things we are juggling while we work since March 2020. The number of individuals who are acting as caregivers while also working full-time or part-time jobs outside of the house is at an all-time high.[1]

Caregiving responsibilities extend to spouses and children, parents and other older family members, and relatives with disabilities.

Department Of Homeland Security Ends the COVID-19 Temporary Policy For Expired List B Identity Documents

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) adopted a temporary policy in response to the difficulties many individuals experienced with renewing documents.  As part of that temporary policy, employers were permitted to consider expired List B identity documents when completing the Form I-9 (“Employment Eligibility Verification”) which is required for employment in the United States.

The EEOC’s New Guidance Says Discrimination Against “Caregivers” May Violate Federal Law

On March 14, 2022, the EEOC released a new technical assistance guidance document entitled “The COVID-19 Pandemic and Caregiver Discrimination Under Federal Employment Discrimination Law.

Essentially, the guidance reiterates that an employer may not discriminate against an applicant or employee under federal law on the basis of protected classes such sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation, or gender identity), race, color, religion, national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information.  However, the purpose of the guidance is to illustrate how discrimination on the basis of a protected class can occur, possibly even inadvertently, if employers make assumptions and decisions based on an applicant’s or employee’s caregiving obligations due to the Covid-19 pandemic.