California Employers Face Penalties of $3.2 Million for Coronavirus Violations

Author: Michael Cardman, XpertHR Legal Editor

February 11, 2021

California's workplace safety agency has cited more than 100 employers for violating the state's coronavirus-protection rules, issuing citations totaling $3.2 million and counting.

The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) proposed penalties ranging in size from $350 (for a supermarket in Palo Alto that failed to properly document its coronavirus training) to about $400,000 (for a state prison that failed to provide adequate training or equipment, resulting in the hospitalization of staff). The average citation was about $25,000.

Agriculture businesses, supermarkets, nursing homes, assisted-living facilities and hospitals were among the most commonly cited industries. Cal/OSHA opens inspections after learning of COVID-19 fatalities and illnesses, after receiving complaints and during targeted inspections.

California's emergency coronavirus regulations require employers to:

  • Establish, implement and maintain an effective, written COVID-19 Prevention Program;
  • Provide free testing, correct hazards and take other steps when there are multiple infections or an outbreak at a workplace; and
  • Follow infection prevention measures in employer-provided housing and transportation to and from work.