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Governor Newsom signs Executive Order providing Presumption for Employees who Contract COVID-19

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The Law Offices of Robert A McLaughlin would like to thank the healthcare workers, grocery store workers, delivery drivers, construction workers, shipbuilders, police, highway patrol, firefighters and all who continue to work during the stay at home order without concern for their own wellbeing to assist us, the citizens of California.

In recognition of the service of these employees on May 6, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order providing for a rebuttable presumption that employees who are diagnosed or test positive for COVID-19 contracted the COVID-19 in the course of their employment. But the presumption has conditions and a limited time period.

  1. Covers the employment period of March 19, 2020 - July 5, 2020.
  2. The employee must test positive for or was diagnosed with COVID-19 14 days after the employee worked for the employer.
  3. The employee's place of employment must be at a location other than the employee's residence or home at the times noted above.
  4. The diagnosis of the COVID-19 must be made by a Medical Doctor licensed by the California Medical Board.
  5. The diagnosis of COVID-19 made by a California licensed Medical Doctor must be confirmed by a positive COVID-19 test within 30 days of the date of the diagnosis.

What does this mean in plain English?

The employee must have worked for the employer during the time period noted above. However, there is nothing precluding the Governor from extending his executive order before the current cut-off date of July 5, 2020 to another future date.

The diagnosis or testing indicating the employee contracted COVID-19 must be within 14 days of the employee having performed labor or services for the employer.

When the COVID-19 positive test or diagnosis is made for the employee must not have been working at his home or residence. This will cause the need for litigation for clarification of this language. Many employees who are working from home are not solely doing so. Employees are occasionally going into their regular place of employment to pick up mail, supplies to keep working from home, or to check in with superiors. If 14 days from such a visit the employee tests positive for or is diagnosed with COVID-19 this requirement should be considered fulfilled.

A California licensed Medical Doctor must make the diagnosis of the COVID-19, not a nurse, physician's assistant or chiropractor. Plus the diagnosis must be confirmed by a positive COVID-19 test within 30 days of the doctor making the diagnosis.

If you do not meet these requirements it does not mean you cannot prove you contracted COVID-19 from your employment. You just will not get a presumption your positive test for or diagnosis of COVID-19 was contracted in the course of employment. But you can still try to prove your case without the presumption.

Plus even if you meet the criteria above, the employer can still present evidence to show the employee contracted the COVID-19 outside of the employment and if persuasive can overcome the presumption.
The executive order also provides for additional requirements from a typical workers' compensation case to obtain temporary total disability benefits after the employee proves their COVID-19 was contacted through employment.

At the Law Offices of Robert A McLaughlin we are prepared and proud to represent the heroic front line workers braving this pandemic so the rest of us can stay safe. Thank you.

The Law Office of Robert A. McLaughlin has provided more than 30 years of legal help for clients in the greater San Diego and Imperial County. We handle workers' compensation, personal injury, and employment law cases. Our legal team works tirelessly to meet our clients' needs. Contact us online or call 619-354-4854 if you're in need of legal help.

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