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Expert: Cal/OSHA decision won't drastically impact COVID-19 rules at work

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Posted at 11:18 AM, Jun 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-05 01:04:26-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Employment Attorney Dan Eaton said the workplace won’t look much different based on Cal/OSHA’s decision to amend its COVID-19 safety rules.

He said this is because of the way the rules are laid out. Under this plan, those who are fully vaccinated won’t have to wear masks if they are in a room entirely with vaccinated people, or if they’re working outdoors.

But as Eaton pointed out, proving this will be difficult legally.

IN-DEPTH: What Cal/OSHA's vote means for masks and the future of workplaces

"An employee is not considered fully vaccinated unless the employer has documentation of the fact of the vaccination and two weeks has passed. The board hasn’t identified what that documentation means," Eaton said.

Eaton said employers can ask their employees about their vaccination status because it is not protected under HIPPA rules.

"As long as the employer keeps the documentation of the vaccination separate from other parts of the employees' personnel file which has identifying information such as social security information, an employer does not violate state or federal law," said Eaton.

And while the State’s Office of Administrative Law reviews these changes, Eaton said when June 15 arrives, despite what the Governor said, people at work will likely still have to wear masks.

"The Governor’s guidance will apply when you are out and about. It’s not going to apply when you are working indoors unless the Governor takes further action and overrides what the Occupation and Health Standards Board did yesterday," Eaton added.