Serving as a stark reminder of the consequences of failing to comply with state and local COVID-19 safety protocols, the Department of Industrial Relations published a news release on September 30, 2020 announcing that Cal/OSHA issued citations to five area supermarkets in Los Angeles for COVID-19 workplace safety violations.

Cal/OSHA cited the grocery stores for numerous COVID-19 workplace safety violations, including the following:

  • Failing to update their workplace safety plans to properly address COVID-19 hazards;
  • Allowing too many customers in the store, thereby preventing workers from maintaining at least 6 feet of physical distance;
  • Exposing workers in the cheese department to COVID-19 hazards by failing to install physical barriers between employees and customers;
  • Failing to install plexiglass or other required barriers at all registers;
  • Failing to provide effective training for their employees, including instruction on how COVID-19 spreads, measures to avoid infection, COVID-19 signs and symptoms, and the safe use of cleaners and disinfectants; and
  • Failing to report a worker’s death from COVID-19.

The proposed penalties for the violations ranged from $13,500 to $25,560.

Employers must remain vigilant in following the workplace safety protocols instituted at both the state and local levels. If not, they are at risk of large penalties for non-compliance. Employers must closely adhere Cal/OSHA’s industry guidance as well as it’s reporting and recording requirements. In addition to the various Cal/OSHA requirements, employers must comply with the requirements of their specific locality as well.

We will continue to keep you updated on any major COVID-19 related developments that impact the workplace. If you have any questions about the matters discussed in this issue of Compliance Matters, please call your firm contact at 818-508-3700 or visit us online at

Richard S. Rosenberg
Katherine A. Hren
Charles H.W. Foster
Ballard Rosenberg Golper & Savitt, LLP