On July 27, 2021, the Department of Industrial Relations issued a news release regarding a citation of $447,836 issued by the California Labor Commissioner against three Southern California El Super Grocery Stores for not providing COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave (“SPSL”). El Super with 52 stores in California, was issued the citation in both Los Angeles and San Bernadino counties.
The citation stated that 95 workers who were impacted by COVID-19 were either forced to continue working while sick or told to apply for unemployment while quarantining or in isolation. Others were made to wait months before being paid for sick leave, if paid at all.
The Labor Commissioner, Lilia García-Brower, stated “Supplemental paid sick leave is intended to protect workers from being forced to choose between their health and providing for their families. These violations expose workers, their families and El Super’s customers to unnecessary health risks.”
The Labor Commissioner’s Office opened their investigation after receiving complaints from workers and a referral from the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, which represents grocery store workers. The investigation uncovered unlawful practices such as not consistently informing workers of their rights to SPSL, workers being told to come to work even though they exhibited COVID-19 symptoms, or workers being told to apply for unemployment or disability. Further, many workers were denied time off to isolate even though members of their household had tested positive for the virus.
Employers should be aware that the 2021 SPSL, which went into effect on March 29, 2021 is retroactive to January 1, 2021, and requires that California workers be provided up to two weeks of Supplemental Paid Sick Leave if affected by COVID-19. If you would like further information on whether your business qualifies for, or is compliant with, California’s SPSL laws please contact the Employer Lawyers at Chauvel & Glatt.
This material in this article, provided by Chauvel & Glatt, is designed to provide informative and current information as of the date of the post. It should not be considered, nor is it intended to constitute legal advice. For information on your particular circumstances, please contact Chauvel & Glatt at 650-573-9500. (photo credit: 123rf.com)