Signed by the President on March 18, 2020, The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) is emergency legislation intended to help employers maintain payrolls and not shoulder the burden of doing so in this crisis.
We and others have mentioned various competing “stay at home” orders conflict with each other, e.g., State, County and City of Los Angeles, as applied to car sales and whether car sales are considered “essential” thereunder. With guidance issued by the Governor’s office today, it is now clear that the Governor’s order is the applicable order.
Los Angeles County just issued its Order banning the operation of non-essential retail and other businesses, similar to those that have been sweeping across the state and country. It is similar to the “shelter in place” orders issued in the Bay Area, however, the L.A. County Order designates as one of the Essential Services: “…auto-supply, auto repair, car dealerships and related facilities.” This means that car dealership operations can continue in full, and there is no need to close vehicle sales operations. However, dealerships must remember that this is not “business as usual” as they must adhere to other measures under the Order.
Scali Rasmussen has established a COVID-19 Task Force to monitor and respond to the pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus (“COVID-19”). The task force consists of an interdisciplinary group of the firm’s attorneys with decades of experience serving clients in times of crisis and uncertainty.
You may have heard that 6 Northern California counties (Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara) have issued a “shelter in place” order, shutting down all non-essential businesses until April 7, 2020, unless extended. “Essential Businesses” include “gas stations and auto-supply, auto-repair, and related facilities”.
Many employees, especially those who are at worksites that put them in contact with others, are understandably on edge about possible exposure to the virus through their work contacts. Employers have a responsibility to take precautions regarding employee safety and to be prepared for possible incidents of virus exposure.
The California Supreme Court recently held in Frlekin v. Apple that employees’ time spent on the employer’s premises waiting for, and undergoing, required exit searches of packages, bags, or personal technology devices voluntarily brought to work by the employees purely for personal convenience is compensable as hours worked within the meaning of Industrial Welfare Commission wage order No. 7-2001, under the “control” test.
On February 27, 2020, the California Assembly voted on whether to allow for an emergency vote on Assembly Bill 1928. If AB1928 had been brought to a vote and passed, it would have taken effect immediately as an urgency statute to repeal the so-called “ABC test” set forth in the 2018 California Supreme Court case Dynamex Operations W. Inc. v. Superior Court. As we previously reported, the Dynamex ABC test was codified in AB5, which took effect on January 1, 2020 and which creates a difficult standard for businesses to meet in order to classify a worker as an independent contractor instead of an employee.
In December of 2019, a Florida car dealership was hit by a ransomware attack. This sophisticated style of data security attack breaks into a network and locks access to email, databases, and other essential files and programs. The hackers typically then demand a large payment in the form of an untraceable financial instrument. In this case the hackers demanded 65 Bitcoins, roughly equivalent to $600,000, to restore access to the dealership’s systems.