Important Information from Rob Roy, President/General Counsel of VCAA
The Ventura County Farm Workers Resource Program has Issued a Flyer Concerning Protective Measures to be taken by Farm Workers during the COVID-19 Crisis
The Association is providing a copy of an employee flyer (Spanish only – see below) to be used in tailgate meetings with workers explaining protective measures to be taken by workers during the COVID-19 crisis.
VCAA members are also reminded to post the U.S. Department of Labor poster in conspicuous places on their farms and ranches, to educate workers on the availability of the new Federal Paid Sick Leave and Expanded FMLA Leave laws which became effective this week on April 1, 2020, and most importantly, implement additional safety precautions for agricultural workers in accordance with CDC and other government guidelines.
Topic for Employee Tailgate Meetings on COVID-19
While participating in a Countywide Zoom meeting with various representative in the agricultural industry and farmworker advocacy organizations, an issue was raised about the sensitivity [because of cultural reasons] that some farmworkers do not understand why they might be stopped by law enforcement if they are employed in an essential industry, like agriculture.
Notwithstanding the fact that workers have been provided with identification cards and letters demonstrating to any third-party that they are employed in the agricultural industry, concerns were still being raised about the circumstances under which farmworkers might be stopped by the local Sheriff or Police. We heard from a representative of the County Sheriff’s Department that workers will not be stopped on the basis that an Officer might believe they are an undocumented worker or may not be engaged in a non-essential industry. The County Sheriff’s representative also clarified that workers could be stopped if they were engaging in a traffic violation or the Officer would otherwise have sufficient probable cause under the Constitution. At this time, no workers have been reported as being stopped.
VCAA wishes to reaffirm to members to stress to farmworkers in your tailgate meetings that so long as they retain their Identification Card or letter showing they are employed in the local agricultural industry there should be no problems if, by chance, they are stopped. VCAA has been reassured by the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department that they are not looking to stop farmworkers and have no jurisdiction under Federal immigration laws. Please ensure that your foremen and supervisors who conduct the tailgate training sessions explain the contents of this E-Memo to your workers.
DOL Releases FFCRA Temporary Regulations and More FAQs
On April 1, 2020, the Association issued a newsletter advising members of the temporary regulations on the FFCRA issued by the U.S. Department of Labor. Earlier, on March 31, 2020, the Association issued the DOL’s newest supplemental Q&A document containing 56 questions and answers.
Today, we are providing members with an excellent legal article prepared by VCAA associate member, Barsamian & Moody, which briefly covers the qualifying reasons for leave related to COVID-19 and the documentation necessary for such leave. The article also contains additional FAQs pertaining to the FFCRA. [A copy of the article is available below.]
[Editor’s note: We wish to thank Barsamian & Moody for its contribution of this article.]