Due to the recent increase in COVID-19 cases, California officials are recommending that private employers require their employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or face regular testing.  In an article in the Sacramento Business Journal, Governor Gavin Newsom’s senior advisor and director of the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development, Dee Dee Myers, called on private employers, urging them to follow the state’s lead and mandate COVID-19 vaccinations or regular testing to make way for economic recovery.  This recommendation comes despite hesitancy that the COVID-19 vaccination has only been authorized for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration.  However, Acting Assistant Attorney General, Dawn Johnsen, has indicated that this does not present a barrier for those businesses wishing to mandate vaccinations.

In related news, the Food and Drug Administration today approved the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine for the prevention of COVID-19 disease in individuals 16 years of age and older.

In light of this recommendation, California legislators are considering introducing a bill to impose a vaccine mandate or regular testing requirement on private sector employers.

Currently, many private employers have been slow to heed this advice.  Although, Facebook, Microsoft, Google and Kaiser Permanente are ahead of the curve and have begun mandating COVID-19 vaccinations.

In order to incentivize mandating vaccinations, business leaders have made various demands including that the state provide tax credits for the cost of increased testing and remove extended paid sick leave for workers who are not vaccinated.

Further information may be found in our colleagues’ posts on Proskauer’s Law and the Workplace blog which summarized the DFEH’s guidance for mandating vaccinations as well as other considerations.

Photo of Tony Oncidi Tony Oncidi

Anthony J. Oncidi heads the Labor & Employment Law Group in the Los Angeles office.

Tony represents employers and management in all aspects of labor relations and employment law, including litigation and preventive counseling, wage and hour matters, including class actions, wrongful termination…

Anthony J. Oncidi heads the Labor & Employment Law Group in the Los Angeles office.

Tony represents employers and management in all aspects of labor relations and employment law, including litigation and preventive counseling, wage and hour matters, including class actions, wrongful termination, employee discipline, Title VII and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, executive employment contract disputes, sexual harassment training and investigations, workplace violence, drug testing and privacy issues, Sarbanes-Oxley claims and employee raiding and trade secret protection. A substantial portion of Tony’s practice involves the defense of employers in large class actions, employment discrimination, harassment and wrongful termination litigation in state and federal court as well as arbitration proceedings, including FINRA matters.

Ariel Brotman

Ariel Brotman is an associate in the Labor Department and a member of the Employment Litigation & Arbitration Group.