What is an employer’s obligation, in a general, indoor office workplace, for following and adhering to California’s face covering mandate?

Many industries, including restaurants and health care, should follow their own industry-specific guidelines.

Generally, employers should refer to the June 18 California Department of Public Health (CDPH) guidance as it addresses a variety of scenarios that require face coverings in the workplace, such as when an employee is engaging with members of the public; working in an area where food is prepared; or working or walking in common areas like hallways, stairways, elevators or parking facilities.

Establishing a face covering policy is important, especially since the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) can enforce the mask mandate through fines. Businesses should establish a mask policy within their dress code policy and enforce the mask policy the way they would normally enforce the dress code policy.

If an employee resists your mask policy or claims to have a disability that prevents them from wearing a face covering, then employers need to have a separate conversation, asking the employee for the reasons they can’t wear a mask and then use the interactive process to see what reasonable accommodations can be provided.

Lastly, the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) issued recent guidance stating that employers must provide face coverings to employees at no cost.

Read more in HRWatchdog’s California’s Face Mask Requirements Can Help Keep Businesses Open.