San Francisco Passes COVID-19 Non-Discrimination Law

On February 5, 2021, the Mayor of San Francisco signed into law the COVID-Related Employment Protections Ordinance. This law sunsets an emergency ordinance that created similar protections, effective September 11, 2020, until January 9, 2021. The codified law becomes effective March 8, 2021, and will remain in effect until March 8, 2023. The law prohibits employers from discriminating against employees and applicants if they:

  • test positive for COVID-19,
  • are isolating or quarantining,
  • have previously isolated or quarantined due to COVID-19 symptoms or exposure, or
  • are perceived to have COVID-19.

All employers that have employees working within the geographic boundaries of San Francisco are covered by the ordinance. An employer found to have violated the law may be subject to administrative penalties of up to $10,000 for multiple violations, an order to hire an applicant or reinstate an employee, pay lost wages to an employee or applicant, and pay the city’s costs of investigating and remedying the violation.

Employers are required to provide employees a notice of their rights under the law. A sample notice will soon be made available for employers from the Office of Labor Standards Enforcement’s (OLSE) website. The notice must be provided to employees within seven (7) days after the OLSE publishes it.

Members can contact the California Legal Services team with any questions about this new law. We can be reached at CAInfo@employerscouncil.org.