California Adopts Strongest Standard for Workplace Violence Prevention for Healthcare Employees

Studies show that health care workers are at a significantly higher risk of workplace violence than the average worker in other industries.   The Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), reports from 2002-2013, the rate of serious workplace violence incidents (who require days off for an injured worker to recuperate) was more than four times greater in the health care industry than in the private industry on average.

In October of 2016, the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board (Standards Board) unanimously accepted a new General Industry Order entitled “Workplace Prevention in Health Care”.  The Office of Administrative Law approved the standard in December of 2016, and is codified at Section 3342 of Title 8 of the California Code of Regulations.   The rule is far more extensive than the Federal OSHA’s guidelines for the prevention of workplace violence in health care settings.

Beginning April 1, 2017 all employers in California operating in the following health care areas will be required to comply with Section 3342, the “Workplace Prevention in Health Care” rule:

  • Health Care facilities
  • Home Health Care Programs
  • Drug Treatment Programs
  • Emergency Medical Services
  • Outpatient Medical Services to Correctional and Detention Settings

Continue reading

Ohio: How the New Gun Law Affects Employers

In Ohio, there is a new gun law going into effect on March 21, 2017 that will give additional rights to concealed carry permit holders and active duty military members.  Under the new law, concealed carry permit holders will be allowed to carry their guns in additional places, including bringing a licensed firearm into a public parking lot.  Active duty military members will be allowed to carry weapons under certain conditions without a concealed carry license.  Continue reading

Do We Have to Pay Employees On Call?

question-mark-460867_1280Yes, your company is required to pay employees if you require them to remain on your premises while they wait for an assignment (for example, firefighters waiting for an emergency call).  If this is the case, they are considered to be working and must be paid, even if they are doing other things, such as playing cards.

No, you don’t have to pay employees if you allow them to go home and they are free to leave messages saying where they can be reached.  In most cases, like these, the employees are not considered to be working.

Yes, you must pay employees if you allow them to leave but restrict their activities, (such as requiring them to remain close to the workplace or not drink alcohol while on call).

Rules for Meal and Rest Periods

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSAcafe-675219_1920) does not require that employers provide any rest or meal breaks to employees other than for nursing mothers. However, if an employer decides to offer these breaks to their employees, the FLSA does provide some rules that must be followed:

  • Breaks of a short duration (typically 20 minutes or less) should be paid breaks that are counted as time worked and should be included in the total hours calculation for overtime purposes. This includes restroom breaks, breaks to get a beverage, smoke breaks, etc.
  • Meal periods (typically 30 minutes or more) can be omitted from total hours worked and can be unpaid breaks when an employee is relieved of all job responsibilities for the duration of the break.

Continue reading